Salvador Dalí

Furore over sale of Dalí rights to British financial group

Henry Ansbacher is said to have paid $15m (£7.5m) for the Spaniard’s copyright

Suspicion surrounding the selling to a British financial group headed by Henry Ansbacher of the company in possession of the copyright to the works of Salvador Dalí has led Catalan intellectuals in Barcelona to come out strongly against the move, calling for the Spanish Government to assume “the role of universal heir to the artist’s patrimony” and denouncing “the passivity of the Ministry of Culture, which allows a foreign company to acquire rights to the returns on the work of a Spanish artist”. According to El Periodico the Swiss group Denart Pro Arte, run by Robert Descharnes, is thought to have made $15m (£7.5m) on the deal. Meanwhile, the hierarchy at the Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí is beginning to emerge: Ramon Boixadós, at present in charge of events planned for Barcelona “Villa Olímpica”, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Generalitat de Cataluña and the town councils of Figueres and Cadaqués, is to be its president, aided by the painter Antoni Pitxot, and the vice-president will be Maria Lorca, the mayor of Figueres. All this is to take place according to the wishes of the committee “elected” as set out in Dalí’s will. In addition the director of the new Centro de Estudios Dalí is also shortly to be elected. In order to ensure that the Fondacion has a “less political and more technical” character, to use the words of Jordi Pujol, president of Generalitat, there has been a reshuffle of the group of representatives of the Ministry of Culture and of Generalitat who are part of the trusteeship: Pujol and councillor Joan Guitart, President Felipe González and the Minister of Culture Jorge Semprún will be replaced by Jon Triadú of the Department of Culture, Josep Miquel, representative for the Plastic Arts, Luis Jiménez-Calvería, vice-director of the Institute for the Preservation of the Artistic Heritage, and by Maria Corral, director of the Centro Reina Sofía in Madrid. To these will be added Jaime Brihuega, director-general of the Fine Arts, who is already a trustee, and Eduard Carbonell, director-general of the historic and artistic heritage of the Generalitat, who will replace the architect Jordi Bonet.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 6 March 1991