Next Saturday, December 30, the last deadline expired given by Carmen Cervera to keep his collection of 429 works deposited free of charge at Thyssen since 2002 for 12 years, and both parties have decided to take three more months to complete the negotiation. It was the umpteenth postponement obtained on June 18 at a secret meeting held in the museum itself. The Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo, participated, the Minister of Culture, José Guirao, and the owner of the works, Carmen Thyssen.
The change in date is due to the need for more time to study the subject by the Ministry of Culture and the legal representatives of Carmen Cervera, MA Abogados, the office of Ángel Acebes and José María Michavilla. In a telephone conversation, Carmen Thyssen said that on the table there is no request for 9 million euros per year in rent, as it had been published in some media. Sources of Culture ratified the version of the baroness.
Carmen Cervera's collection comes mostly from the inheritance she got when she was widowed by Baron Thyssen. They are works that have nothing to do with the one that was acquired by the Spanish State to Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza in 1993, in an operation for which 350 million dollars were paid in exchange for 775 masterpieces dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries until the last decades of the twentieth.
The pieces owned by the Baroness deposited in the Thyssen and exhibited in the Villahermosa Palace since 2004 have in their central core masterpieces by Canaletto, Fragonard, Courbet, Boudin, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Degas, Rodin, Matisse, Picasso or Kirchner and the jewel in the crown, the famous Mata Mua (1892) by Paul Gauguin. In origin, that legacy added 655 works, an amount that has been shrinking at the same time that Carmen Thyssen opened new museums with his name and moved Spanish paintings there. It has museums in Malaga, San Feliu de Guixols and Andorra.
Since 2002, the year of the formalization of the deposit, Carmen Cervera obtained an extension of the building, the Palacio de Villahermosa, to exhibit her paintings in optimal conditions. The maintenance, study and conservation have been the responsibility of the State and have meant a permanent revaluation of the whole without it being required any long-term counterpart. Always with the authorization of the Board of the Museum, of which she is vice-president for life and has four permanent representatives, the baroness has been able to lend, change and move pieces according to their needs. Thanks to the fact that the deposit agreement authorizes her to sell up to 10% of her collection, Carmen Cervera broke off one of the jewels in her collection in 2012 on the pretext of lack of liquidity: The lock, of John Constable was auctioned at the London headquarters of Christie's for 27.89 million euros with the displeasure of part of the board. Then he talked about the possibility of letting go of Horses racing in a landscape (1894), pastel on paper by Edgar Degas, The Charing Cross Bridge in London, of Monet, and even the emblematic Mata Mua (1892) by Paul Gauguin. He did not sell them.
The negotiation that Carmen Thyssen has maintained with those responsible for Culture over the years has gone through Mariano Rajoy, Pilar del Castillo, Carmen Calvo, César Antonio Molina, Ángeles González-Sinde, José Ignacio Wert, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo and José Guirao He has always said that he understood very well with Rajoy and with Carmen Calvo, the current vice president of the government and the only one who came to make an offer to buy the collection that was rejected by the baroness.