Posts Tagged ‘Malaga’

Carmen Thyssen’s Salon des Refusés

So finally her museum has opened in Malaga. The international public don’t seem particularly interested despite the initial free entry and guest appearances of thirty pictures from Tita’s Madrid collection. But the most important event was the subsequent signing of the contract, which should of course have taken place prior to the pictures’ arrival and the museum opening. The spokesman for the United Left in Malaga’s city council, Mr Pedro Moreno Brenes, even went as far as stating that the signature only happened once the town council had agreed to supply yet further millions to cover running costs.

According to an article in Diariosur Newspaper it also appears that Mrs Thyssen has the right to remove 10% of the pictures permanently and another 15% for up to nine months. So what the Andalucians believe they have invested more than 36 million Euros in may not be quite what they end up with. Already there seems to be some doubt as to the museum’s potential profitability as six million euros of the investment is infact a subsidy for the running of the museum for the next two and a half years. After which the museum is expecting to be able to self-finance – but only fifty percent of the running costs -, which basically means the council will probably have to invest at least another fifteen to twenty million for the full fifteen-year loan, from which Tita claims she will not receive a penny.

At the signing of the agreement a small but vocal group of protesters made their opposition to such extravagance obvious. They were members of a recently formed national group of protesters who are unofficially known as Los Indignados.

There is still no news as to why Tomas Llorens and his assistant, Maria Lopez, left the Carmen Thyssen Museum Malaga in such a hurry. One can only presume it was something they considered financially or legally advisable, or possibly both, while Tita must now be somewhat embarrassed by the fact that Llorens remains on the board of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid. It is also rather confusing that the current director of the Madrid museum, Guillermo Solana, continues to promote Tita’s collections despite the fact that the Spanish government has apparently already succeeded in a legal action regarding the passing-off of the Thyssen-Bornemisza “brand”, obgliging her to call her museum Museo Carmen Thyssen rather than Museo Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. God knows how much that cost her to defend or who paid the legal bill for her Malaga venture, considering the tax complications involved with pictures owned by three different offshore trusts!

Anyway, Carmen Thyssen has finally confirmed the rumours that she, like Spain itself, is experiencing financial difficulties. She has even warned the Malaga city council that while she is at present loaning her pictures for ‘nothing’ she will eventually, of course, have to receive some form of recompense. There have also been accusations that she has failed to show-up for a number of museum-related, social events. Hopefully because she was busy with more profitable pursuits.

Drawing by Alagram at STATE Magazine (

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Will Spain Give The Thyssens A Second Gold Hoard?

Interview with Sara Olivo for Epoca Magazine (Gaceta de Negocios)           12 March 2010.

EM: Do you think that Carmen Cervera and the Spanish State will come to an agreement for the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection to remain in Spain?

DL: I hope not. The Spanish state does not need her pictures. And Carmen Cervera should not be asking the Spanish state for any payment. The Spanish state cannot afford it and the Madrid museum already loses money every year. So why pay more money to a wealthy Thyssen in order to lose even more money for the state? For the life of me I cannot think of a reason why Spain wants Carmen Thyssen’s third-rate pictures, when it already has too many first-rate pictures in other museums.

EM: What are the main difficulties faced by Tita to reach a satisfactory agreement?

DL: The main problems are her greed and Spain’s bad financial situation. She is trying to repeat the deal that her husband Heini made nearly 20 years ago. But she does not have his skill or knowledge. You did a terrible deal with Heini Thyssen. Even some of your own experts expressed scepticism about the wisdom of Spain buying his collection in 1993, for instance Eduard Castellet, President of the Fundacion Miro. So why would you want to do another, even more terrible deal?

EM: She says that she has offers from some museums in the USA and Europe. Can this be true?

DL: No, I don’t think that’s true. If she did, why would she not name them and say what they are offering her?

EM: She says she has as much money as people think…..Is it true?

DL: Her worth is never going to be what she says it is. I’m not sure she would even know herself. If she can claim that her pictures are worth €700 million, then of course she can claim to be a billionairess. But I believe that all of that is totally and completely exaggerated. Anyway, what does it matter how much money she has? She is taking money from Spain, not giving it.

EM: Is the Thyssen Collection overrated? Tita says it is worth €700 million.

DL: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (i.e. Heini’s collection sold to Spain in 1993) is worthless, because it cannot be sold and requires constant taxpayers’ support to be housed and exhibited. As far as the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection is concerned, as Carmen Cervera never says exactly what her collection comprises (240 pictures? 900 pictures? 3000 pictures?), it is impossible to value it. Therefore, what she is saying about its value is of no consequence. It is interesting, for instance, that the Spanish state seems to be insuring 655 of her pictures, when officially she is only exhibiting 240 at the Madrid museum:

EM: Can the negotiations affect the dispute between Tita and Borja and visa versa?

DL: Negotiations for what? She never says what she is negotiating. She constantly changes the number and nature of the pictures she wants Spain to rent from her. In Malaga, she is talking about a catalogue of 200 pictures, which only the conservative mayor has ever seen (not even the left-wing opposition in the town council has had the honour). The deal in Sant Feliu de Guixols is even more obscure, and yet she is talking about a ‘Thyssen museum network’ between the three locations. In the meantime, I calculate that Spain has already spent a total of around €100 milllion (!) to build facilities in Madrid, Malaga and Sant Feliu de Guixols to house parts of the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. If she is negotiating about pictures which are part of her son Borja Thyssen’s inheritance rights, then obviously he could challenge any deal.

EM: Do you think that being such a populist politician, Prime Minister Zapatero has a real interest in the collection with such a financial crisis as we currently have in Spain?

DL: I don’t understand why anyone, regardless of their political beliefs, would want to pay for pictures, some of which the Spanish state has already rejected before and others which were purchased from money previously paid to the Thyssens by the Spanish tax payer. It would be a bit like paying for the same thing twice!

EM: Tita said that the topic of her private collection is independent of the negotiations on the future of the Thyssen Museum. Do you think this is true?

DL: Carmen Cervera’s pictures housed in the Madrid museum since 2004 were not part of the original agreement with Heini, for which Spain paid $350 million in 1993 (according to my figures it was actually closer to $600 million if you include the real estate, architectural costs, insurance, lawyers fees, administration, etc,. etc.). Heini Thyssen did, however, manage to get a foot in the door for his wife by signing a separate agreement to loan an additional 70 pictures to the Madrid museum which remained in the ownership of him and Tita. This seems to be the basis of what she is trying to negotiate for Madrid now. This leads to an interesting point, which is that very few Spanish people (if any) have ever seen the original agreement. I have seen it, which is why I know that Spain made such a terrible deal.

I believe, that as a Spanish tax payer, you have the right to demand concrete information about all of this. At the moment, it is still all shrouded in a veil of smoke and mirrors. I can think of no reason why anyone would even consider acquiring her pictures, unless they are being paid some form of commission for doing so. On a personal level, I would also like to say that in my eyes, Carmen Cervera’s vulgarity and lack of taste actually damages Spain’s cultural image internationally. One more thing, which is very important: neither Tita nor Borja can do anything to affect the status of the original paintings bought by Spain from Heini Thyssen. Some reports make it sound like she could take Heini Thyssen’s pictures out of the Madrid museum as well. She cannot!

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Thyssen Art Elevator Hits Spanish Buffers

At last! Spain begins to question the quality of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, what the taxpayers might have got for their money and the wisdom of paying yet more money for ‘Tita’s Collection’. These were all things we have been publicly questioning for the last three years. So why has it taken so long? Without wishing to sound cynical, could it be a result of the credit crunch? While Spain was flooded with Euros, nobody wanted to see the King naked.

Today’s critic, Dr Juan Jose Junquera, is a Professor of Art History at Complutense University in Madrid, and as such could hardly claim to be a stranger to the collection. Perhaps the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation Board, particularly Sir Norman Rosenthal, will now be obliged to make a comment, though with Rosenthal’s wife still working at the Prado, he could of course be accused of a conflict of interest.

The following is a translation of the Spanish original from today’s ABC newspaper.

No wonder Tita is busy preparing Villa Favorita in Lugano for re-occupancy. This feature looks to me like the Culture Ministry’s way of say ‘No’ to any further deals with Tita and if this one hits the buffers, Malaga looks ever less likely.

“After reading Carmen Cervera’s declarations in ABC on Sunday 3 January, I’ve had the following thoughts: I’m not doubting the generosity of her offer to loan the Thyssen Collection, but I’m asking myself of how much interest it actually is to the Spanish taxpayers. We still don’t know which paintings will stay in Spain once the current cession agreement concerning the collection of her late husband, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, ends, which was a question raised in its day by the then Director of the Prado, Professor Perez Sanchez, and to which there still hasn’t been a reply. In the meantime, the Prado lacks good quality Dutch paintings, such as Franz Hals, gaps which the Dutch Masters of the Thyssen Collection cannot fill. Is it really advisable to spend the few Euros that the Culture Minisry has available in order to rent a Gauguin escorted by paintings of somewhat dubious quality and authenticity on a background of nineteenth century artists whose works already gather dust in the storage rooms of both the Prado and provincial museums? Nobody doubts the commercial acumen of Baroness Thyssen; but what we mustn’t do is buy a lift for a bungalow without discussing the matter in public.”

ABC Y SUS LECTORES,  Domingo , 10-01-10

……..«La atenta lectura de las declaraciones de doña Carmen Cervera en ABC del domingo 3 de enero me sugiere unas reflexiones -dice JUAN JOSÉ JUNQUERA, catedrático de Historia del Arte de la Universidad Complutense-. No es que dude de la generosidad de su oferta de alquiler de la colección Thyssen, pero me pregunto hasta qué punto éste interesa a los contibuyentes españoles. Aún no sabemos cuáles son los cuadros que quedarán en España cuando acabe el convenio vigente de cesión de la colección de su difunto marido, el barón Thyssen-Bornemisza, pregunta que formuló en su día el que era director del Prado, profesor Pérez Sánchez y que aún no tiene respuesta. Mientras, el Prado carece de holandeses de calidad como Franz Hals, huecos que no cubren los maestros holandeses de la Colección Thyssen. ¿Realmente interesa gastar los poco euros de que dispone Cultura en alquilar un Gauguin escoltado por cuadros bien de dudosa calidad o autenticidad, bien de segundones decimonónicos cuyas obras decansan en los depósitos del Prado y de los museos de provincias? Nadie duda de las cualidades comerciales de la baronesa viuda Thyssen; lo que no debemos hacer es, sin discutirlo públicamente, comprar un ascensor para un chalet de planta baja……..».

One of Tita's ten 'Gauguins (?)', which could become the subject of her forthcoming 'cleansing' operation (see ABC newspaper on 03.01.2010).

"'The Crucifixion', attributed to a painter from the circle of Sir Anthony van Dyck, which Heini purchased from Sotheby's at the 1995 sale of the Bentinck-Thyssen Collection for only £17,000 and immediately re-attributed to the Master himself" (from: 'The Thyssen Art Macabre' / 'La Historia Secreta de los Thyssen')

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Litchfield’s Controversial El Mundo Thyssen Paternity Claims

This interview with me appeared in El Mundo (La Otra Cronica) on Saturday 19 December 2009. I wish to make one very important correction to its contents, as I have been misquoted on the aspect of English law concerning the Thyssen inheritance battle that is ongoing in Spain between Heini’s widow Tita and her son Borja.

I did not say ‘Under English law, the Baroness can disinherit Borja. I said ‘As far as I know, no European country permits total disinheritance’.



Eso es lo que David R. L. Litchfield, amigo de Heini Thyssen durante 25 años, desvela en esta entrevista en exclusiva. «Si es bajo legislación inglesa, la baronesa podrá desheredar a Borja»


El último capítulo en el enfrentamiento de los Thyssen acaba de escribirlo Tita Cervera asegurando que su hijo Borja esta «abducido por una secta». La guerra en esta familia, como en los 90 sucediera entre el barón Thyssen y sus hijos mayores, se repite como un bucle. David R. L. Litchfield, autor de La historia secreta de los Thyssen (Temas de Hoy), la conoce bien. El biógrafo del barón analiza en exclusiva para LOC las claves del enfrentamiento entre Carmen y Borja. Su trayectoria como escritor y periodista, así como la amistad que mantuvo con ellos durante 25 años, le avalan.

Pregunta.- ¿Qué le parece que Tita no fuera a la boda de su hijo?

Respuesta.- Sé que se casaron y que Tita no fue. Conocí a Blanca hace años. Tita me confesó que contrató a Blanca para que alejara a las cazafortunas que se acercaban a Borja. Ella le ha educado como a un príncipe. Le ha sobreprotegido siempre. No quería que se le acercara una cualquiera, entonces contrató a Blanca para que su hijo estuviera vigilado. La cuestión no es que Tita odie o no a Blanca. Simplemente no estaba en el plan que su hijo se terminara casando con la «funcionaria».

P.- Hay quienes ven un paralelismo entre las vidas de Tita y Blanca. ¿Blanca (la aprendiz) ha superado a Tita (la maestra)?

R.- Bueno, las comparaciones son odiosas, pero veamos: Blanca ha formado una bonita familia, tiene un marido fiel, un hijo con él, disfruta de la fortuna de los Thyssen… Tita tiene un montón de cuadros que todos vais a pagar, un hijo con el que está enfrentada y dos hijas de dudosa proveniencia. Tú eliges quién gana o quién pierde.

P.- De hecho, durante muchos meses se ha especulado con que Borja pueda ser el padre biológico de las hijas gemelas de Tita. ¿Lo ve posible?

R.- No creo que Borja sea el padre. Borja no es un Thyssen. Me creo más la posibilidad de que el padre de esas niñas fuera Heini. Es una mera hipótesis, no lo afirmo. De esa forma Tita aseguraría el porvenir de las gemelas. [El barón murió en 2002 y para concebir a las niñas, nacidas en 2007, su herencia genética debería haber sido preservada en un banco de esperma].

P.- ¿Tita mira a Blanca con los mismos ojos con los que Francesca, la hija del barón, la miraba a ella en el pasado?

R.- Sin duda. La mira de la misma forma snob. Es una cuestión de dinero y estatus social.

P.- Presuntamente, Tita exigió a Borja que se hiciera las pruebas de paternidad, ya que desconfiaba de que Sacha fuera su nieto. ¿Hay algún precedente en la familia Thyssen?

R.- Y tanto que los hay. Que yo sepa, hasta en tres generaciones se han planteado problemas de este tipo. De los cuatro hijos de Heini Thyssen (George, Francesca, Lorne y Alexander), sólo Francesca es hija biológica. Y no lo digo yo, me lo confirmó el barón.

P.- ¿Cómo cree que terminará esta historia?

R.- No va a terminar, al menos mientras tengan dinero para seguir pagando a los abogados.

P.- ¿Le sorprende que la baronesa haya demandado a su hijo?

R.- No me sorprende, pero creo que lo hace para desviar la atención sobre sus negociaciones de arte en Málaga y San Feliu. Ella está intentando vender su colección de arte, al igual que lo hizo el barón.

P.- Borja ha declarado recientemente que es beneficiario, junto a su madre, de parte de la colección de arte de Heini Thyssen. ¿Contradice esto el Pacto de Basilea (el acuerdo alcanzado por Tita y los hijos del barón en relación al reparto de la herencia)?

R.- Borja no tiene ningún derecho sobre la colección. Sólo tiene derecho a los cuadros que pertenecen a su colección privada, pero no a los del barón. Igualmente, habría que recordarle a Borja que sus cuadros están cedidos al Estado español a través de un acuerdo de préstamo.

P.- Pero, ¿tiene derecho Borja a reclamar parte de la herencia?

R.- Borja puede hacer lo que considere, pero conociendo a Tita como la conozco, saldrá perjudicado. Su madre hará de todo para que ese dinero no le llegue. Pero la cuestión es: ¿bajo qué jurisdicción sería resuelto el caso? ¿española, suiza o británica?

P.- Según la baronesa, la británica. Se dice que Tita desheredará a Borja.

R.- Si es bajo la legislación británica, la baronesa podrá desheredar a su hijo si así lo considera.

P.- Después de todo lo que ha llovido, ¿cree posible una alianza entre Borja y Francesca en contra de Tita?

R.- Es posible, pero poco probable.


MISMO PATRÓN. David R. L. Litchfield ha vivido de cerca las tensiones entre el barón Thyssen y su familia. «Los conozco hace más de 25 años. Al barón le fascinaba encomendar biografías. Cuando leyó uno de mis libros le entusiasmó la idea de que le escribiera una, pero no llegó a buen puerto. Tras varios años sin hablarnos, en 1996 me llamó Tita diciendo que finalmente el barón estaría dispuesto a que yo fuera su biógrafo. Tampoco salió bien. Sin embargo, eso no me impidió sacar mi libro La historia secreta de los Thyssen, con toda la información que recabé durante todos esos años a su lado». Su relación con Tita y Heini fue «fluida». «Podían ser un grano en el culo, pero estamos cortados por el mismo patrón, así que no hubo problemas».

On 23.09.2016, Vicente Fredelosa of comments: “Yo no estoy convencido con lo aqui escrito, pienso sinceramente que hay muchos factores que no han podido ser tomados en cuenta. Pero valoro mucho vuestra opinion, es un buena web.

The edge of Villa Favorita, Lake Lugano, Switzerland

Heini Thyssen and David Litchfield at Villa Favorita, ca. 1989 (photo: Nicola Graydon)

Heini Thyssen in his gallery, Villa Favorita, Lugano, ca. 1989 (photo: Nicola Graydon)

Heini Thyssen (photo: Nicola Graydon)

Lake Lugano seen from Villa Favorita

Breakfast at Villa Favorita

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Preciosismo: A Fairy Tale Of Modern Spain (by The Great Collaborator)

As the ravenous ThyssenArt Beast proceeded to eat its way through Malaga’s hot, sleepless nights, the Board of the Museo Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation met for the very first time, presided over by ‘Our Precious Lady Carmen of The ChaChaCha’.

It seemed fitting for such a splendid occasion that it occurred in the town’s ‘Great Hall of Smoke and Mirrors’, which glittered proudly for ‘Carmen The Accumulator’s’ reunion with Vice-Presidente Francisco de la Torre (conservative mayor of Malaga), councillors Miguel Briones, Mariluz Reguero and Pedro Moreno Brenes, Tomas Llorens (former director of the Museo Thyssen Madrid), Guillermo Solana (current director of the Museo Thyssen Madrid) and one Teresa Sauret Guerrero. Only the identity of the other three members of the eleven-strong MCTBF board remained shrouded in deepest mystery.

Now, for some time, the unruly Izquierda Unida and their friends had been the lone ‘voice in the wilderness’, most un-‘preciously’ questioning the wisdom of spending tens of millions of Euros of taxpayers’ money on refurbishing crumbling provincial palaces to create more Thyssen Museums, bearing in mind that the Thyssens’ ‘precious’ immortality had already been subsidised in the country’s capital for twenty years to the tune of some 500 million Euros.

The main concern was the question of how many and exactly which of ‘The Baroness’s’ 1000 paintings – valued by The Great Art Expert herself at 800 million very ‘precious’ Euros – would eventually be housed in the new great institution. The only words crossing Her Magnificence’s own rose-scented lips was that they would all be ‘very nice’ and ‘very…..precious’, a view shared whole-heartily by the other defenders of The ThyssenArt Beast, all of them interested parties in their own ‘precious’ ways.

And so, as Mayor de la Torre opened the day’s proceedings, it looked like any remaining dissent could finally be quelled once and for all, when the solemn declaration was made that there would be not one but…..EIGHT (!) collections at the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Malaga, and that these would comprise ‘romantic landscapes’, ‘naturalist landscapes’, ‘naval paintings’, ‘old masters’, ‘pictures from between the centuries from Tradition to The Renovation’, ‘portraits of Andalucia and Spain’, ‘costumbrism’, and, finally…..: ‘PRECIOUSCISM’!

Unwaware that this was just a word created during a game of scrabble between Guillermo Skywalker and Anikin Rosenthal, the common folk at once began to cheer uncontrollably. Men threw their hats in the air and women frantically fanned their flushed cheeks, while everyone whooped and hollered in manic delight: ‘It’s a miracle! My God, a miracle! What a great Baroness she is, Our Lady ChaChaCha. She is so beautiful and so good to us! We are so utterly greateful to her! Long may she live! Long may she live!‘.

Indescribable scenes of sheer, ‘precious’ ecstasy ensued, the crowd chanting ‘Pre-cious! Pre-cious! Pre-cious! Pre-cious!’ until their voices grew hoarse.

Finally, The ThyssenArt Beast’s old Jedi Master, Yoda Llorens, managed to regain control over the hysterial mob and delivered his coup de grace: the museum’s Mission Statement. Apparently it was ‘the intention of the museographic contents of the new art centre’….to mould a picture of Spanish society, and of that of Andalusia in particular, beginning with the romantic period and stretching through to the begining of the 20th century’.

Here the breath of the common folk was held for some time as they struggled to grasp the true meaning of the Jedi Master’s wise words. Stunned silence pervaded the air, until, out of the blue, one lone voice of dissent, Al Panpan, spoke out: ‘This picture of Andalusia which you are planning to ‘mould’, is a manipulative and unreal picture which was constructed from afar and represents the starting point of all the problems that came crushing down on us in the 20th century. I propose that Carmen Cervera inaugurate her new little museum wearing flamenco flounces and that the mayor joins her dressed up as The Joker’.

Security pounced at once, bundled up the obviously insane lone critic and quickly ushered him off to an uncertain future, but dark clouds began to gather, as great thunder rolled and lightening flashed, threatening to shatter the multitude of ‘precious’ mirrors. Suddenly, the form of ‘Borja, The Great Mighty Heir’ filled the doorway, lit by a single shaft of ghostly light. Terror descended. The people shivered with fear. Pausing, ‘The Great Mighty Heir’, with his inimitable stutter (a sure sign of true aristocratic breeding) began to read out passages from Hola Magazine, that most ‘precious’ of avant-garde gazettes: ‘G-g-gggg Gggigive me my Dddddog, my Dodododgy Ggggg-Goya. This is my uneq- eq- eqqqqq, un-eq, my un-eqqqqquiqui-, my uneqqqqui-vocal right!’, he finally roared in his booming voice.

It was later said that at this exact, precious moment in time, The King, who was not present but many hundreds of miles away, felt a sharp pain in his side and began to fear the worst for his magnificent, ‘precious’ friend, Tita Thyssen, and lo he was grieved!!

Sensing The King’s grief in reverse telepathy, the people started shouting: ‘Go home, Great Mighty Heir! Sling it! Get a job! And don’t you dare touch OUR precious paintings! They are OUR precious paintings, do you understand??!!’

And with a last whimpering roll of thunder he was gone.

The Great Impressionables had spoken. And so it was that The Great Accumulator’s ‘precious’ paintings were saved for the Spanish nation forever. Or as long as the Four Amigos can keep reaching deep into the wallets of the precious people of Spain.

The Fantastic Four: Guillermo 'Skywalker' Solana, Lady ChaCha, Francisco 'The Joker' de la Torre and Tomas 'Great Jedi Master Yoda' Llorens, addressing the people of Malaga on 21 October 2009

The Four Amigos: Guillermo 'Skywalker' Solana, 'Carmen The Accumulator', Francisco 'The Joker' de la Torre and Tomas 'Great Jedi Master Yoda' Llorens, addressing the people of Malaga on 21 October 2009

The Dodgy Goya.

The Dodgy Goya.

Another Dodgy Painting: Allegedly A 'Santa Marina' by Francisco Zurbaran. Soon to be housed at the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Malaga?

Another Dodgy Painting: Allegedly a 'Santa Marina' by Francisco de Zurbaran. Soon to be housed at the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Malaga?

The Lady Dances

The Lady Dances (Manuel Cabral Aguado Bejarano, 1889)

Dance At The Palace

Dances At The Palace (Eugenio Lucas Villamil, 1894)

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Tita Thyssen’s Proposed Malaga Gallery Questioned

The fulfilment of the ambition of Heini Thyssen’s widow, Carmen Cervera, to see her own name in lights on a public museum – rumoured locations for which have so far included Madrid, Seville, Sant Feliu de Guixols and Malaga – continues to hang in the balance, as it has done, now, for some five years.

First political concerns about the plans for a Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza Museum in Malaga were raised in May 2008, when the professor of law at Malaga University and spokesperson for the United Left Party, Pedro Moreno Brenes, urged the local government to stop developing the new museum (for which € 25 million had already been budgeted) until a fully committed contract had been signed.

Then, on 31 March 2009, much was made of Carmen Thyssen and Malaga’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre, signing the papers to set up the foundation which is to manage the museum. Pictures were taken of ‘Tita’ laying the foundation stone.

While de la Torre had apparently been given three catalogues by the ‘Baroness’ from which 200 pictures would be chosen for the museum (on loan for 15 years), and it was claimed they were all “very attractive and interesting”, the opposition has so far failed in their attempts to gain access to an exact and definite list of the proposed works to be exhibited. Names of artists bandied about have included “Zurbaran, Zuloaga and Sorolla”.

On 19 April 2009, Moreno Brenes’s party presented a motion to the town council, critising the “notable legal insecurity” in the ongoing Thyssen negotiations, while adding that the budgeted costs for the Carmen Thyssen Bornemisza Museum of Malaga (to be opened at the end of 2010) had by now increased to € 38 million.

Today comes news that the main opposition party, the PSOE, which forms the national government of Spain, has joined the ranks of the critics of this project. Their spokesperson for the Malaga town government, Rafael Fuentes, has told Europa Press that Mayor de la Torre has “sacrificed the needs of ordinary citizens of Malaga in favour of pet projects of Barons and Earls” and that there is a marked “lack of transparency” in the Thyssen and other projects.

Tita Thyssen-Bornemisza cementing her future in Malaga (courtesy of Hola Magazine, 31 March 2009)

Tita Thyssen-Bornemisza cementing her future in Malaga (courtesy of Hola Magazine, 31 March 2009)

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