The Mata Mua by Paul Gauguin, the most representative painting in Carmen Cervera’s collection, which she took from the museum in June of last year to take to Andorra, must return to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation within four days of signing the contract for lease between the Ministry of Culture, the baroness, her son Borja and the companies that represent them. This is contemplated in the pact, according to sources around the baroness. The operation has received the support of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, by approving the legal framework that will allow the signature between the parties, which could take place this week, according to calculations by those involved.
429 works are at stake for which the State will pay 6.5 million euros per year to rent for 15 years. At the end of that period, the collector’s family will have pocketed 97.5 million euros, an amount that will be deducted from the final price of the sale if, as might be expected, it is completed. The contract does not set the price for which this eventual purchase will be sealed. It will be decided when those 15 years have elapsed. At present, the baroness wields a valuation, which she attributes “to Christie’s and Sotheby’s”, of 1,300 million euros for the whole. Taking into account the trend of the art market, that amount will be predictably much higher in 2036. Meanwhile, the State will bear the maintenance of the complex and the insurance. Part of that collection, some 180 works, will be exhibited in eight rooms of the Thyssen Foundation, on the first floor, where visitors could previously find the part corresponding to the 20th century.
The aforementioned sources from the Baroness’s environment recall that in this year in which she had the painting in Andorra “she has received offers of up to 250 million for the Mata Mua, so the amounts we are handling are not unreasonable ”. In addition to the masterpiece of Paul Gauguin, Carmen Cervera has also taken in recent times Charing Cross Bridge, of Claude Monet; Racehorses in a landscape, by Edgar Degas, and El ‘Martha McKeen’ de Wellfleet, by Edward Hopper. Last May, a Monet marine identical to Cervera’s, both in composition and even in frame, appeared in an exhibition at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, attributed to a private Emirati collection. The baroness assured, in statements to this newspaper, that she had not disposed of the canvas.
The transport and security measures are prepared, according to the aforementioned sources, so that Mata Mua leave the bunker in Andorra where you arrived after leaving the museum in June last year and move to Madrid. In the museum they have already reserved a special place for him, as befits the jewel in the crown of those eight rooms in which Baroness Thyssen’s collection will be exhibited. With his return, a year will come to an end since he left the Villahermosa palace, where he had been exposed since 2004. He did so in the middle of a pandemic and without making any noise, until this newspaper revealed his departure. She will return as an icon of much greater importance than before, due to the media exposure of a painting painted by Gauguin in 1892 and which was already one of the most important pieces in the museum, also in comparison with the jewels of her husband, the Baron. Thyssen, 775 works that the State acquired in 1993 for 350 million dollars (288 million euros).
The decree comes into force from the moment of its publication in the BOE this Wednesday. That decree does not specify whether the baroness can dispose of any of the works in her collection. In her environment they think that this would be a point to be negotiated in the contract, but that the possibility of her lending or selling has not been contemplated.