Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, age 69, is selling John Constable’s painting “The Lock” because she is apparently suffering “liquidity” problems brought on by Spain’s economic crisis.
It is expected to raise up to £25 million and the piece is housed in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
However, the proposed sale is causing an uproar with Spanish art fanatics and has even ignited a bitter family feud.
One of the museum board members even resigned to protest the sale. Sir Norman Rosenthal said that the Baroness, a former Miss Spain, has no understanding of either art history or art appreciation.
The Baroness countered her critics with the following statement to El Pais:
“It’s very painful for me, (to sell the painting) but there was no other way out. I need the money, I really need it. I have no liquidity. Keeping the collection here is costly to me, and I get nothing in return.”
The Baroness, known as Tita, is the fifth wife and widow of Swiss industrialist Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, who amassed a huge private art collection before his death in 2002, at age 81. Francesca Von Habsburg, age 52, Tita’s step-daughter and the only daughter of the late-Baron has dismissed the claims of her stepmothers need of money.