An 1824 work by English painter John Constable sold for $35 million at auction earlier this month, setting a record for the influential artist while also highlighting an ugly family spat.
According to several media reports, Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza blamed the decision to sell “The Lock,” a work that had hung in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, founded by the baroness’ late husband, on Spain’s slumping economy.
Apparently oblivious to the benefits of modern public relations, the baroness quipped to a Spanish newspaper, ”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 sale drew the ire of the baroness’ family as well as a board member of the museum, who resigned in protest, according to a Reuters report.
A stepdaughter of the baroness was quoted in the British press saying that her stepmother “has shown absolutely no respect for my father and is simply putting her own financial needs above everything else,” according to the Los Angeles Times.