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Culture has not bought Sorolla’s work from the Valencia Museum of Fine Arts for almost 40 years.

On August 10, 1923, at six o’clock in the afternoon, the doctor confirmed the death of Joaquín Sorolla, who was suffering from the heat of Madrid at his home in Sercedilla, Villa Colita. On the 2023 anniversary of his death, tributes have been paid to the artist of Mediterranean light. The Ministry of Culture planned and decided in 2022 to make extraordinary expenditures for the purchase of six paintings that would be deposited in the Sorolla Museum in Madrid: in six paintings from Sorolla’s youth, almost 500,000 euros. watercolor Playing the guitar (1887) cost €73,000; oil Little girl (1882), 18,267 euros; A singing girl (1883), 48,803 euros; in the hotel (1883), 50,000 euros; proposer (1883), 142,000 euros; and The slave and the dove. naked (1883) was the painting that paid more, at €160,000. In 2021, Culture purchased a painting and a painting for this museum for 83,000 euros. In 2020, he bought a painting, Knight with the bandfor 80,000 euros. In 2019, none.

This level of investment in the Madrid museum contrasts with the commitment that the culture has shown to the Valencia Museum of Fine Arts, where Joaquín Sorolla is the main artist of the center, but does not receive state aid to buy work. Since 1984, the Ministry has not promoted the presence of local artists in the collections of the Valencia Center. The state bought it that year. Landscape of Oriamendi (San Sebastian)Painted in 1912 and deposited in Valencia. Since then, almost four decades later, they have not made another purchase for this museum, as confirmed by its management.

If Picasso is the identity reference of the Reina Sofia Museum, and Velázquez and Goya of the Prado Museum, Sorolla is the institution of Valencia. At the moment, as reported by the museum, there are 48 paintings by the Valencian artist in the Fine Arts of Valencia. They expect seven more works to enter the Lladró family’s collection of 73 works, which the Generalitat Valenciana acquired last November for 3.7 million euros. This was a special move, because in 2022 the museum had a meager account for purchases of 100,000 euros.

In 2021, the Generalitat Valenciana acquired Sorolla’s two pieces for the Fine Arts of Valencia, Portrait Triplet Isabel Brew (1904), at Christie’s auction in New York, for 63,303 euros and A study of oxen to return from fishing (1894), for 55,000 euros. That is, in two years, the museum increased its collection Sorols 16%

The Prado is the third institution with an important collection of works by Joaquín Sorolla, thanks to 20 oil paintings by Valencian. Both the Prado and Bellas Artes de Valencia are a short distance from Madrid’s Museo Sorolla, a state institution that houses the largest collection of works by the Valencian artist. 55 There are almost 1,500 paintings in the cellars of the old house of the Sorolla family, which has been converted into a warehouse. This unique volume of works is limited by the small dimensions of the exhibition space. 114 paintings are displayed in the rooms, barely 7% of the total number of prisoners. Also, more than 5,600 paintings of airplanes rest in warehouses protected from light.

Not a single euro in four decades

What is this disparity between Valencia and Madrid? The Ministry of Culture explains that as “a museum of transferred management, the most recent acquisitions have been made by the Generalitat Valenciana, the administration managing the collection”. However, in 2022 the Ministry of Culture acquired the medieval capital for the Palencia Museum, which was state-owned and management was transferred to the Junta de Castilla y León. There are more cases in the same legal situation as the fine arts of Valencia: the Mallorcan Museum is also state-owned, the management was transferred to the Governor de les Balears, and the culture acquired the precious head of Augustus from the 18th century. For 250,000 euros. Before Christ.

Despite this, all of Sorolla’s works acquired by Cultura during these four decades ended up in Madrid collections. In addition, although the state did not buy any of Joaquín Sorolla’s paintings during these years, it continued to acquire works for the collections of the Fine Arts Museum of Valencia. The last time it did this was in 2016, as indicated by the museum itself. So they bought it Cursing ChristPainted by Vicente Castelló (1585-1636).

unfair competition

The director of Valencia’s Museum of Fine Arts is Pablo González Tornell, a 46-year-old Valencian and tenured professor at the Universitat Jaume I de Castelló, and he explains that he finds it “sad” to see Sorolla stay in Madrid. Although he lived most of his professional life in Madrid, the most respected artist in his country made the horizons of the Mediterranean Sea the most popular part of his painting. However, as Professor Carlos Reyero reminds us, Sorolla made the decision that the museum that would bear his name and preserve his legacy would be in Madrid.

It is the Council for the Qualification, Evaluation and Export of Historical Heritage Goods, which advises on procurement in the budgets of the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Fine Arts. As explained by the Ministry of Culture, they are held based on the requests of various state museums and also depending on the opportunities that arise in the market every year. In 2022, with an investment of 6.6 million euros, 90% of the invested money remained in the museums of Madrid.

“I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault, but the tendency is for Sorolla’s money to stay in Madrid,” says the conciliatory director, who believes the policy “damages the backbone of the pluralist state” and benefits the capital. “Sorola is an element of identity in Valencia. We do not have a local museum call, we want to strengthen our signs and Sorola is ours. But, for now, this is an exclusively regional effort and the state is entering the competition,” assures the director, who replaced Carlos Reyero in 2020. Reyero indicates that during his tenure he does not recall any good and inexpensive paintings available for purchase.

Centralist tension

“Participating in the competition is funny. In the end, everyone goes their own way: the Ministry of Culture announces its commission on Tuesday to celebrate Sorolla a year and two days later. generality. Two different logos, two efforts…” adds Pablo Gonzalez Tornell. Gonzalez Tornell recalls with satisfaction the purchase of the work at Christie’s, despite the obstacles of the administration, because no one made an offer for it.

The curator of the exhibition is Javier Perez Rojas Sorolla and the Valencian painting of his time. Dialogues and contraststhat You can visit MUBAG in Alicante, with almost 120 paintings about the artist and his contemporaries. For an expert on 19th-century painting, Sorolla’s “completion of the collection” of fine arts in Valencia is significant. “The Ministry of Culture should invest in the purchase of Valencia and not look like a competitor. Another problem is the dispersal of the objects in the administration of Valencia and gathered in the museum,” says Perez Rojas.

The researcher does not believe that the Sorolla Museum needs to acquire more volumes because it can only display a small part. In addition, the Sorolla Museum is one of the state institutions most affected by the lack of staff and The closure of the rooms is permanent for years. The museum is in the process of expanding into the adjacent areas acquired in 2009, which will, in addition to the paintings, take up additional space to store thousands of items such as jewelry, textiles, sculptures or furniture.

As reported by the Ministry of Mikel Iseta“Sorola Museum does not have adequate spaces for a restoration workshop, cultural goods store, educational workshops, temporary exhibition hall, assembly hall, group reception, cafeteria, etc.” Mikel Isetta announced in late December that he “plans to renovate the building” this year, apparently Compliance Report.

Source: El Diario





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