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The Museo Nacional del Prado has raised to 70 the number of works in its collection originally from requisitions

Following a research project commissioned from senior academic and expert Arturo Colorado

Museo Nacional del Prado
Museo Nacional del Prado

The number of works which entered the Museo del Prado and the Museo de Arte Moderno on deposit from the Committee for the Requisition and Protection of the Artistic Heritage (the holdings of which were assigned to the Prado in 1971) now stands at 32, while those sent to the Museum on deposit from the Service for the Defence of the National Artistic Heritage has risen to 38.

Professor Colorado’s study has also identified the provenance of 10 paintings, providing names and surnames or a concrete origin. These original owners include Pedro Rico, mayor of Madrid on two occasions (1931-34 and 1936), the church at Yebes, Guadalajara, and the Marquis of Villalonga. Two further works have been traced to exact addresses although the owners’ names are not known.

The complete report can be consulted at Museo del Prado’s website.

A selection of 11 of these works will be on display in the Villanueva building until May 2nd.

Last September the Museo Nacional del Prado published a provisional report by Ana Martín Bravo, Head of the Documentation Service and Archive, and María Luisa Cuenca García, Head of the Library, Documentation and Archive Department at the Museo del Prado. It included a total of 64 works in the Museum’s collection that derive from requisitions, and announced the launch of a research project which would provide definitive data about the origins of those works.

The conclusions of the study commissioned from academic and emeritus professor Arturo Colorado Castellary, an expert in cultural heritage and the Spanish Civil War, with the participation of Alberto García Alberti and Ignacio González Panicello, now raises to 70 the number of works in the Prado’s holdings that derive from requisitions. In addition, and following internal research, the list of works has been expanded to include 7 medals and 89 drawings of unknown provenance.

In his report Professor Colorado emphasises that in order to contextualise these arrivals of works in historical terms, it is important to differentiate clearly between those sent to be safeguarded in the storerooms of the Prado and the Museo de Arte Moderno by the Republican Committee for the Artistic Heritage during the war, and those sent on deposit to the two museums by the Francoist Service for the Defence of the National Artistic Heritage in the post-war period.

Twenty-three of the works are in a state of preservation that makes their identification impossible. With regard to the remaining works, whenever possible the documentation has been located which provides the basis for tracing their history, from the moment of their requisition to their arrival at the Museo del Prado.

The origin of the requisitioned works

Professor Colorado’s research has identified the original owners of 12 of the works requisitioned during the Civil War and those sent on deposit and thus diverted during the postwar period.


For some time now the Museo del Prado has been checking the works in its collection that were consigned on deposit by the Committee for the Requisition and Protection of the Artistic Heritage - entrusted with collecting together and storing works of art belonging to private individuals and religious institutions in order to safeguard them during the Civil War - or by the Service for the Defence of the National Artistic Heritage, which was responsible for returning those works in the postwar period.

Many deposited cultural items could not be returned to their owners because they could not prove ownership, had died, were in exile, were the subject of reprisals or were simply unknown as they failed to include their names on the requisition documents. Some of these unclaimed works, principally paintings, thus remained at the Museo del Prado, the Museo de Arte Moderno and other museums in Spain.

With a different provenance, the Prado also houses 7 medals deposited in 1936 and 89 drawings assigned to the Museum in 1971 by the Department of Fine Arts.

Information regarding provenance, obtained from consulting archival documents and studying the labels and annotations on the reverse of the paintings, has made it possible to trace the circumstances of these works of art; information which the Museo del Prado is now making available to researchers and the public on its website.

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