Brueghel, Boucher, Sorolla... The Prado, in Madrid, investigates the origin of some of his works


Among the works identified, at least 23 paintings have a journey during the Civil War or the Franco dictatorship.

Madrid's Prado Museum is investigating the origin of at least 62 works of art in its vast collection to find out whether they were seized during the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) or Franco's dictatorship. "The Prado Museum has decided to officially open an investigation into the possibility that some of the works in its collection may come from seizures during the Civil War or during the Franco dictatorship", which ended in 1975, the museum said in a statement Thursday. "The aim is to remove doubts about the origins and context that led to the inclusion (of a work) in the Prado collection, and if necessary - in accordance with the law - to allow its return to its legitimate owners.“, explains the museum.

On Tuesday, the Prado published an initial list of 25 works that had been added to “the collection (of the museum) by the Commission for the Defense of Artistic Heritage and were probably seized by the Committee for Confiscation and Protection of Artistic Heritage during the Civil War», an organization created by Francisco Franco during this civil war. In 48 hours, the list has therefore grown, since it contained 62 works on Thursday.

Among these are paintings by François Boucher, the Flemish artist Jan Brueghel the Younger and the Spanish impressionist Joaquín Sorolla, whose photos the museum has published. The Prado said it has set up a team of investigators led by Arturo Colorado, a cultural heritage and Civil War expert, to determine the provenance of works in the famed museum's collection. He is due to publish a report in January.

Among the first 25 works identified, 17 paintings were donated to the museum between 1940 and 1942, while six others were initially transferred to the Museo de Arte Moderno in Madrid in 1942-1943 and later acquired by the Prado.

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