The Selgas-Fagalde Foundation It plans to send the Protectorate of Foundations the information requested by the Ministry of Culture as a result of the doubts raised by its financial management and the sale of a painting by Goya to the Friends of the Prado. In said letter, to which ABC has had access, the foundation that presides Gregorio Peña Varona defends that the canvas “Aníbal victor” does not have an endowment nature, which would justify its alienation against what its statutes and the Foundations Law provide, and that the amount received by him will be destined to meet the foundational purposes.
«The statutes establish protection for the assets that make up La Quinta. The aforementioned painting is not part of the collection
art constituted in La Quinta, by Fortunato and Ezequiel Selgas», Points out the foundation, which was established in 1991 with the aim of preserving the entire heritage complex that makes up the El Pito palace –the gardens, the artistic and bibliographic collections, the furniture or the ornamentation–, as well as the Church of Jesus Nazareno and the Casa Cuartel de la Guardia Civil, which are located outside the enclosure located in Cudillero (Asturias).
According to the directive trustees of the Selgas-Fagalde Foundation, the entity “has received by testamentary other artistic assets other than the La Quinta collection, which come from other houses or offices of the Selgas-Fagalde family and are classified as economic. Without prejudice to its exhibition at La Quinta ».
Goya’s painting, the foundation alleges, “was bought by Ezequiel Selgas y Albuerne in Madrid and destined for his personal office. […] When taking possession of the goods in Madrid, along with other works (Niño de Guevara, ‘San Juanito’ and the ‘Virgen’ de Roelas) was the ‘Aníbal’, at that time called ‘Guerrero’ by an anonymous Italian author ».
For all these reasons, the Selgas-Fagalde Foundation assures Cultura that the Goya “is an asset not assigned to La Quinta.” The painting had been exhibited at the Prado Museum since September 2011, “under a loan agreement”, and in November last year the foundation’s board of trustees agreed to sell it for 3 million euros to the Friends of the Prado, who in April they formalized their donation to the museum. The work is now one of the great claims of the exhibition that these days honors in Madrid the 40 years of the Friends.
“The amount obtained from the sale of the painting ‘Aníbal’ by Goya is intended to serve the foundational purposes”, justifies the foundation: “Its sale is intended to improve and restore the whole of La Quinta, some actions already started such as the facade of the Church of Jesus Nazareno and others in project development as is the case of the facade of the Palace. The foundation emphasizes that ten works have been restored and another three have been cataloged and expertized.
The sale has been dealt with in eleven board meetings held between 2014 and 2020, and “no employer questioned its qualification as an economic asset, including the two Culture Councilors who represented the Principality of Asturias on the board of trustees in this period.”
At the foundation’s governing body, at the express wish of the founders, the Cudillero City Council, the Archdiocese and the University of Oviedo are also represented.
All of them gave the green light in November last year to sell the Goya and a painting by El Greco to a Hungarian museum. It was the Board of Qualification, Valuation and Exportation of Goods, dependent on the Ministry of Culture, who prevented this operation. “El Greco’s work the ‘Asunción’ or ‘Immaculate’ has not been sold and remains the property of the Selgas-Fagalde Foundation,” the entity transmitted to Culture.
The communication is accompanied by the study carried out by the Caylus gallery of Goya’s painting, which gave an assessment that ranged between 2.5 and 3 million euros, and by the inventory of all assets belonging to the La Quinta collection and “those others that come from other homes or offices of the founders.”
The Selgas-Fagalde Foundation indicates that between 1993 and 1994, during the works of the Jorge Juan 6 headquarters, some paintings were transferred to the Quinta for study. They then decided to display them along with the rest of the La Quinta assets “without having modified their classification” as economic, non-endowment, and therefore disposable assets, according to the foundation.
The list of artistic assets owned by the foundation but that would not be attached to La Quinta, as the entity explains to Culture, are: ‘Crucifixión’, by Ambrosio Benson; ‘Immaculate Conception’, by El Greco; an ordeal’; ‘Ecce Homo’ by Luis Morales; ‘Virgen con Niño y San Juanito’, by Juan de Roelas; ‘Cabo de Peñas’ and ‘Temporal en Buelna’, by Eduardo Sanz Fraile; ‘The passengers of the Titanic’, by Eduardo Úrculo; ‘Virgen con Niño’, by Ambrosio Benson, and ‘Santo Tomás de Villanueva attending to the poor’, by Niño de Guevara.
The Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta, said this week that his department will be “very demanding and transparent” with the information requested and will not hesitate to ask the judge to intervene the foundation if it considers that the explanations are incomplete. For its part, the Ministry of Culture of Asturias has initiated the file to declare BIC the heritage set of the Selgas and their artistic collection. The foundation has until the 27th to send the Principality an inventory of all its assets. In case of not doing so, the Ministry “will immediately initiate the coercive fines procedure provided for in the Asturias Cultural Heritage Law.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism