Friday, March 24

The Picasso painting that Botín tried to get out of Spain is already on display

bust of a young woman, the painting that Pablo Picasso painted in 1906 is already hanging on a wall in the Reina Sofia Museum. The work had been in the museum warehouse, as a police deposit, since August 2015, after being intercepted on July 31, 2015 in Corsica by the Civil Guard and the customs service of the French island. Now, the work is part of the museum’s Collection and will be key to the exhibition Picasso 1906 that the art gallery is preparing for the celebration of the Year of Picasso in 2023.

The Picasso painting that Botín tried to get out of Spain definitely stays in the Reina Sofía

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Its owner since 1977, Jaime Botín, had authorized Christie’s Iberica to sell the work at an auction in London, but the Secretary of State for Culture denied the pertinent authorization as it was considered by the Board of Qualification, Valuation and Export of Goods of the Spanish Historical Heritage, dependent on the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as inexportable.

This painting, a portrait of a young anonymous girl, was painted by Picasso in Gósol (Catalonia) and announced the arrival of Cubism a year later, in 1907. In 2012, the conservator Paloma Esteban wrote a report for the Conservation Board in which she pointed out the relevance of this work because “the discoveries made at that time would have a decisive influence not only on Cubism, but also on the subsequent evolution of 20th-century painting, and could even be considered one of the keys to the art of our days”. That report led to the Board assessing the work as “inexportable” and that Jaime Botín could not sell it.

The conviction for the crime of smuggling cultural property raised the fine to 91.7 million euros and three years and one day in jail. Botín will avoid prison because he suffers from an “incurable” disease, according to the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid.