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Spain blocks export of Picasso painting to UK

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Spain blocks export of Picasso painting to UK
Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Photo: Ralph Gatti/AFP
11:50 CEST+02:00
Spain's courts have ruled that a Spanish banker cannot take his prized Picasso to London because of the painting's great importance within the cultural heritage of Spain.

Jamie Botín, who is the main shareholder in Spanish bank Bankinter, has been forbidden from taking a painting by Picasso out of Spain.

Spain’s national court confirmed a ruling by Spain’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport that the work was "unexportable" due to its "exceptional importance" to Spain’s cultural heritage.

The painting, valued at €26.2 million ($29 million), was bought by Botín in 1977 and comes from the painter’s so-called "Gósol period".

Picasso, arguably the famous native of the southern Spanish city of Malaga, lived in the town of Gósol, in Catalonia, in the summer of 1906 and produced various works which influenced Cubism.

The dispute over the painting dates back to 2012, when the Spanish branch of auction house Christie’s asked permission to bring to painting to London with the view to selling it at auction.

Botín, brother of the late president of banking giant Santander Emilio Botín, argued that as the painting was on a boat under the flag of Great Britain, it was already under the law of Great Britain rather than Spain.

The painting was on board the Adix, a 65 metre 'super yacht' moored in the Port of Valencia.

But according to International Maritime Law, vessels must submit to the laws of the state whose coast it is nearest to, in this case Spain.

The Board of Classification, Valuation and Export of Spanish historical patrimony advised that the export of the painting should be banned only eight days after Christie’s original request because:

"There is no similar work that exists in Spain, making this work one of the few paintings produced by the painter during what is known as the Gósol period, the discoveries at this time strongly influenced not only Cubism but the subsequent evolution of 20th century painting."

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