First canceled because of the legal troubles in Portugal, the controversial sale at Christie’s in London – initially scheduled on February 4th – of the collection of works by Joan Mirò was rescheduled for June 2014. According to Parvalorem, the society designated to reduce the debts of Banco Portugues de Negocios, it has agreed with Christie’s a new auction as soon as conditions allow, and the auction house confirmed that the sale will take place in June in London.
The impressive collection of 85 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. Immediately after the announcement of the sale, artists and politicians reacted, seeing 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. Starting in January, in fact, the cultural world and Portuguese politicals had launched a petition against the exit from the country of this collection, and in early February the Socialist Party had filed an injunction as a last attempt to block the sale, and on February 4th – the date of the auction – an administrative court of Lisbon had refused to stop the auction. But a few hours before, the auction house decided to cancel it, and has published a press release stating: “The sale of the collection of 85 works by Joan Miro has been cancelled as a result of a dispute before the Portuguese court, to which Christie’s is not a party. While the recent injunction to stop the sale was not granted, the legal uncertainties created by this ongoing dispute mean that we are not able to safely offer the works for sale. “