An impressive collection of works by Joan Mirò of the value of £ 30 million has been put up for sale by the Government of Portugal, originally owned by Banco Portugues de Negocios, the bank confiscated by the state in 2008.
Miró – Seven Decades of His Art includes 85 works spanning seven decades of Miro’s career, which will be sold at auction between 4 and 5 February at Christie’s in London , with estimates ranging between £ 10,000 and £ 7 million.
Immediate reaction of artists and politicians, who see the operation a great loss for the cultural heritage of the country, as well as useless, as 50 million Euros are nothing in comparison to the serious situation that the country is experiencing. The curator Carlos Cabral Nunes, director of Perve Galeria of Lisbon, has given rise to an online petition to stop the sale, but it seems that the Portuguese Government does not recognize the potential of such a body of work of the grand Catalan artist.
These works were purchased by the Bank from a private collection in Japan between 2003 and 2006 and have never been on public display. More forward-looking the Catalan regional government, interested in buying some pieces that would enrich the Miro Foundation in Barcelona, which has more than 900,000 visitors each year.
In addition, selling a great number of works by the same artist in the same moment is very risky: the economic laws in this case are also valid for the art.
In 2012 Peinture ( Etoile Bleue), 1927, reached a record $ 32.9 million at Sotheby ‘s in London , starting with a high estimate of £ 20 million, Painting and Poem $ 23.8 million . His market in 2012 totaled $ 135 million , an increase of 230% over the previous year . The best result of 2013, however, stops to $ 11.9 million for the work entitled Femme revant of Escape of 1945.
The two highlights of the group are: Femmes et oiseaux , 1968 ( £ 4-7 million) and Peinture of 1953 (£ 2500000-3500000 ) . The first , a tribute to Japanese calligraphy after the trip to Tokyo and Kyoto on the occasion of a retrospective of his work , one of the themes in the artist’s emblematic , prized by collectors and the market then. While this might break the record for a work of ’68, Peinture however, because of monumental proportions – more than 5 metres wide – is more difficult to place on the market. In the catalog, 6 of the 27 paintings on masonite that Mirò realized in the summer of 1936 , on the cusp of the Spanish Civil War , in which he inserted also the stones along with the painting in his exploration of bricolage and collage . Already appeared at auction in 1999 – unsold – La Fornarina is a tribute to Raphael estimated three times then, at 2-3 million pounds.