Catalan administration appeals Sixena artworks’ removal

Catalan institutions and museums demand the pieces to be returned to Barcelona and Lleida


Four pieces from the Sixena Monastery still on display in the Museum of Lleida (by ACN)
Four pieces from the Sixena Monastery still on display in the Museum of Lleida (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 4, 2018 05:43 PM

The Catalan administration and the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) have filed an appeal to the Spanish Supreme Court against the removal of the Sixena works of art from Catalonia and their subsequent relocation to monastery of Sixena, in Aragon, the Spanish autonomous community next to Catalonia.

Specifically, the appeal filed by the Catalan administration and the MNAC is to counter the sentence issued by the Court of Huesca in 2015, stating that the sale of 97 works of arts from the monastery of Sixena was invalid. Throughout the day, the Lleida museum will also file an appeal to demand the relocation of the pieces, currently exhibited in the monastery of Vilanova de Sixena, to Lleida and Barcelona. The works were removed from the Lleida museum some weeks ago amid protests.  

Spanish minister for culture allows the filing

The Spanish minister for Culture, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, allowed the Catalan administration to file the appeal, as he is the acting head of the Catalan Culture ministry after Madrid’s takeover of Catalonia’s self-government. The Spanish minister for Culture allowed filing the appeal in order to prevent the Catalan administration from claiming "defencelessness" before the Constitutional Court.

Removed from Lleida and relocated to Aragon

The disputed pieces were removed on December 11 from the Lleida museum in order to bring them back to their original location in Sixena. Despite being legally bought by Catalonia, on November 15 a judge in Huesca upheld a request by the Sixena local authority and ruled that the works of art must be returned to the monastery of Sixena.

Then, a judge in Aragon ruled that the art pieces could be removed from Lleida. A move that came only a few days after the Spanish Culture minister, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, ordered the pieces to be moved from Catalonia to Aragon, while the Spanish government directly controls the Catalan administration.

On July 2016, 53 pieces were removed from the MNAC, since Catalan minister for Culture, Santi Vila, decided to deliver them voluntarily.

A long dispute over the works

This is the latest chapter of a long legal dispute over the works between both administrations. However, Catalonia is in a more difficult position now, since it is still directly ruled by Madrid and its ministers were deposed on October 27.