Sixena mayor accuses Catalan government of discrepancies over disputed artworks

Nun who authorized sale was not "competent" to do so, says Ildefonso Salillas

The mayor of  Vilanova de Sixena, Ildefonsos Salillas (by ACN)
The mayor of Vilanova de Sixena, Ildefonsos Salillas (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 11, 2018 02:52 PM

The mayor of Sixena, the original location of a disputed set of religious artworks, has accused the government of Catalonia of "preventing administratively" the cataloguing of the works, as well as not paying the 10 million pesetas to the nuns who oversaw the sale.

In an interview with the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Ildefonso Salillas also stated that it is "proven" that the nun who authorized the sale was not competent to do so as she belonged to the parish of Valldoreix, and not the monastery of Sixena.

He also said that he was convinced a priest from the Sixena monastery "would never sell" the religious artefacts to the Lleida museum.

The government of Catalonia has always maintained that it bought the works legally. However, after the suspension of the country's self-rule, a judge from Huesca ruled that the pieces should be returned to Sixena, where they were originally from.

The dispute became a central part of the political conflict between the Spanish and Catalan governments.

The last artwork in the Lleida Museum was removed and taken back to Aragon in January, although some frescoes remain in the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC) for the time being as they have been deemed too fragile to move.

Catalan government appeals

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. Most of the works were removed from the Lleida museum in December last year amid protests.