• Van Weyenbergh Fine Art

Mexico President gives to the public his palace 14 times larger than the White House, empty of art !

Last December, a crowd of Mexicans was able to enter the Los Pinos Palace, the presidential residence. The promise of the new president, Andre Manuel Lopez Obrado (AMLO), to give to the public this luxurious palace 14 times larger than the White House was held. It has been decided that it will become a museum, and this autumn it will host an exhibition of 600 religious works repatriated from Italy.

The AMLO campaign relied on a promise of moralisation of public life, and Los Pinos appeared as a symbol of the excesses of Mexican leaders. "This residence is haunted. Even by cleaning it, this building will remain problematic, " he said during his election campaign. 

The residence already housed a number of works of art commissioned by the former presidents, or lent by the national museums. Among the hundreds of curious people who came to visit Los Pinos since December, some were surprised to discover an empty residence of works of art and paintings. According to a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, the place is presented "as found, the first of December at midnight" , the day after the inauguration of the new president.

The works of art lent by the National Museum of Fine Arts were returned to him. As for the others, they could be in other presidential residences. They will soon be replaced by works repatriated from Italy. These 600 painted votive offerings, made between the 17th and 20th centuries, were offerings made by the parishioners to their church. 

Clandestinely out of the country, these works were returned in March, and will be exposed to the public this fall in the presidential residence. The identification of these works was done thanks to a database of stolen objects, from which the Italian Carabinieri looked for typical Mexican iconographic themes, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The investigations led to the collection of the heir of Eugenio Cefis, a Milanese hydrocarbon magnate.

These popular representations, sometimes painted on simple pieces of cardboard, are representative of the Mexican artistic identity, both religious and popular, which has inspired the muralist painters. These objects, anchored in the daily life of the people, seem in step with the aspirations of AMLO, who has taken up residence in an ordinary house in the south of the capital. Journal des Arts, Hammache




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