Thursday, February 06, 2014

I think we may need a ruling from the Deaccession Police on this

Here's a fascinating one.

A Portuguese bank owned a bunch of Mirós.  "Crippled by debt and management irregularities," the bank was taken over by the Portuguese government, which sought to recoup some of its losses by selling the work.

But aha ... the moment the works became owned by the government, they became "cultural property" that it would be outrageous to sell.

If the bank had sold the works and used the proceeds to pay its creditors (including the government), I assume that would have been non-controversial.  But by switching the order around (seizing the works and then attempting to sell), the government boxed itself into a corner.