At least 25 works seized during Civil War in Prado Museum collection

by Lorraine Williamson
museo del prado

The Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid has compiled and made public the full list of works believed to have been seized during the civil war by the Spanish Council for the Seizure and Protection of Art Treasures.  

The works were added to the collections by the General Commissariat for the Defence of Art Heritage. They include works by Bruegel and Sorolla. In 22 of the 25 cases, provenance was explicitly mentioned with the works published on the website. In the three cases where this is not the case, it is because the paintings were not included in the portal for accessing the collections due to their poor condition. The works are, however, catalogued in the museum’s collection management system. 

Possibly more confiscated works 

According to studies by heritage and Civil War expert Professor Emeritus Arturo Colorado Castellary, this initial figure could be higher. The Museo Nacional del Prado has therefore decided to formally investigate the possibility that some works in its collection were confiscated during the civil war or during Franco’s regime. The aim is to clarify any doubts about their background and context before their inclusion in the Prado’s collections. But also, if necessary and in compliance with all legal requirements, to return them to their rightful owners. 

cogesa expats

Family de la Sota y LLano 

The art of the family of businessman Ramón de la Sota y Llano was confiscated in 1937. It was then housed in the Parador de Almagro. Arturo Colorado, who led the international conference “Museum, war and post-war” held at the Museo Nacional del Prado in 2019, is coordinating the work of researchers. These researchers, will thoroughly study the museum’s various archives and files in relation to this specific topic. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the Library, Documentation and Archives Department. 

The artworks were divided… 

Of the 25 documented works; 17 paintings were donated to the Museo del Prado by the General Commissariat for National Artistic Heritage between 1940 and 1942; 5 paintings were donated to the Museo de Arte Moderno by the General Commissariat for National Artistic Heritage (1942). The Museo de Arte Modernos also received one painting from the General Commissariat for National Artistic Heritage (1943). This eventually remained at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo and later transferred to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. From there, it was assigned to the Museo del Prado in 2016 due to the reorganisation of its collections. Also involved are a fruit bowl and a clock from the General Commissariat of National Artistic Heritage.

Also read: Museums in Spain commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the death of Pablo Picasso

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