Law Expert Rejects Jaime Botín’s Claim That $27 Million Picasso Wasn’t in Spain

Picasso's Head of a Young Woman. Courtesy of the French Customs Office.
Picasso's Head of a Young Woman. Courtesy of the French Customs Office.

A Spanish constitutional law specialist has labelled the argument presented by Jaime Botín’s lawyer a “huge contradiction,” amid claims that the banker illegally exported a $27 million Picasso painting to France.Last week, Botín’s attorney sent a letter to Spanish daily El País in response to their client’s artwork being seized by French customs agents on a boat in Corsica.

The painting was declared a cultural treasure by the Spanish National Court in May 2015 and was refused an export permit.

The letter stated that Head of a Young Woman (1906) “was painted abroad, was bought abroad, and its permanent resident has always been abroad. Therefore the painting has not been exported, neither legally or illegally.”

Now, AFP reported that Javier Garcia Fernandez, an expert in Spanish constitutional law at Madrid’s Complutense University has said, “if they say the painting was bought abroad and has always stayed there, why did they ask for an export permit? It’s a huge contradiction.”

He explained “From the moment you apply for authorization to export a good, that is then denied and has been taken before a Spanish court, there is a recognition that it belongs in Spain.”

Botín bought the painting in 1977. It is a rare example of Picasso’s Gósol period, and according to AFP, it is “the only work of its kind” in Spain.

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