Portugal Still Plans to Sell Its Joan Miró Collection at Christie’s

Surrealist painter Joan Miró in his studio. Photo by Alain Dejean/Sygma via Getty Images.

It’s not just cash-strapped museums and bankrupt cities that are looking to offload valuable artworks to raise much-needed funds (see artnet News reports on the Delaware Museum of Art and Virginia’s Maier Museum, and the embattled Detroit Institute of Arts). Now, the country of Portugal has come under fire for its plans to sell its collection of paintings by Joan Miró, reports the New York Times.

A planned Christies’s auction featuring the country’s Miró works has already been cancelled once, but is currently scheduled for June. The proposed sale has become part of a larger debate over what kind of assets a country can sell in order to combat financial difficulties, with many arguing that cultural heritage should be off-limits.

According to the Art Market Monitor, the works by the Catalan painter have never been exhibited in Portugal, and previously belonged to a Portuguese bank that was taken over by the government. The paintings are estimated to be worth $50 million, a mere fraction of the state’s $110 billion debt.

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