Christie's cancels Joan Miro art sale over Portuguese complaints

Christies International auction house has decided to cancel an upcoming sale of Joan Miro artworks and sculptures that were to be sold on behalf of Portugal after people wondered if the country could sell the works in the first place.

According to Reuters, Portugal had hoped to sell the works as the country seeks to get out from under its debt. The Miro works fell into the country's hand after the BPN bank, which had possession of the works, became nationalized several years ago.

The Miro collection of 85 paintings and others works is estimated to be worth $47 million, and the sale was set to go from Tuesday through Wednesday.

Christies said of the cancellation, "The legal uncertainties created by this ongoing dispute mean that we are not able to safely offer the works for sale."

Since the announcement of the sale, citizens and governmental figures have attempted to squash it, reports Businessweek. Over 9,000 signatures have been collected in little more than a month asking that the sale be halted as many don't want the works to leave the country.

Both members from the Socialist and Communist parties joined together and took the case to court. The public prosecutor's office filed the injunction on Monday, but the courts rejected their attempts.

Reuters notes that the sale, called "The Art of the Surreal," also was to feature works from famous Surrealists, such as Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte.

image: Wikimedia Commons

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