Museums Spain

Spanish savings bank’s art collection “transferred” to Alicante museum

But works including pieces by Tapiès and Barceló will stay in the city

Works on view in the Lonja del Pescado Exhibition Centre

A few days before the sale of the Spanish Mediterranean Savings Bank (widely known as CAM) to the Sabadell Bank in early December, the savings bank signed a leaseback agreement with the city of Alicante to transfer its art collection to the Alicante Museum of Contemporary Art. The collection comprises 215 works valued at more than €10m and includes significant examples of 20th- and early 21st-century Spanish art including pieces by Antoni Tapiès, Miquel Barceló and Cristina Iglesias.

The works join the museum’s permanent collection, which consists of 20th-century art donated by the artist Eusebio Sempere, works by Sempere acquired by the city and another collection donated by the Spanish artist Juana Francés. The transfer involves no fee and as yet no date has been given for the newly acquired work to go on display.

“The agreement ensures that the works will stay in Alicante regardless of the future of CAM,” says Raquel Terán, the Alicante councillor with responsibility for culture. CAM’s spokesman Sento Acosta says the move is not the result of “a lack of management funds or any other financial reasons. It follows a change [in] CAM’s management team.”

The collection was assembled over a ten-year period, with works selected by an advisory committee including Tomás Llorens, the former adviser to Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza and the director of the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, Francisco Jarauta, the philosopher and board member of the Andalusian Centre for Contemporary Art and the governing council of the Valencia Institute of Modern Art in Barcelona, and Juan Bautista Peiró, the art critic and curator of the collection.

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