The Duke of Hernani's family has filed a long-standing lawsuit against the Spanish Royal family for theft and fraud, lodged with the Court of First Instance no. 46 in Madrid, Initial Proceedings 6049/95..
Members of the Hernani family claim that the private fortune of the Spanish Royal Family has partly been based on the fraudulent acquisition of the Duke of Hernani's collection of art and painting valued at more than 1,000 million euros, which includes works by Titian, Carpaccio, Goya, Van Dyck, Teniers and other great masters.
Rubens Peter Paul "Samson and the lion" 222 x 260 cm.
Caravaggio Young girl with fruit and dov 136 x 97 cm.
They claim that the Royal family has sold many of these pictures belonging to the Spanish Historical Heritage, to foreign museums, in order to accumulate capital outside Spain. They also accused the Department of Fine Arts as well as the Ministry of Finance and Revenue of having taken part in the operation. Still, this case appears to be a completely censored matter in Spain.
The Duke of Hernani family has set up an Internet site (www. roboreal.com) listing a number of the works allegedly stolen by the Spanish Royal family, which partly runs as follows:
1) Goya Francisco, “Nun's Head”, on canvas, 40 x 32 cm. Trinidad Inventory no° 76. At present in a private collection in England. Sold via a certain Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
2) Goya Francisco, “Monk´s Head”, on canvas, 40 x 32 cm. Trinidad Inventory nº 78. At present in a private collection in England. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
3) Carreno de Miranda, “Martyrdom of Saint Bartolomé”, on canvas. 187 x 251 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 290. At present in the Meadows Museum, Dallas. Sold via Manuel González López.acting as figurehead.
Rafael "The circumsion" 94 x76 cm.
Carpaccio "Marriage of Santa Catalina" 54 x 65 cm.
4) Correa de Vivar, "Christ in the Cross”, on wood panel, 225 x 1,78 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 917, At present in El Prado Museum, Madrid. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
5) Diego Polo, “Mana”, on canvas,187 x 238 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 323. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manue González López acting as figurehead.
6) Diego Polo, “Saint Jeronimo praying”, 128 cm x 110 cm . Trinidad inv. nº 278. At present in El Prado Museum. Sola via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
7) Grebber Pieter van, “Christ an the Samaritan”, 141 x 105 cm, on canvas. At present in a private collection. Sold via Manuel González López.
8) Marullo, “Saint Peter with an angel”, 122 x 160 cm.
9) Ribera José, “Portrait of the Duke de Osuna”, on canvas, 142 x 105 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 103. At present in the Meadow Museum, Dallas. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
10) Caballeri, “Cleopatra”, 100x 81 cm.
11) Vaccaro, Andrea, “Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, on canvas 184 x 131 cm. Sold by Manuel González López. At present in a private collection (Botzer)
12) Ferrant Luis, “Abel Convalescent”
13) Andrea de Salerno, “Bishop”, on canvas,129 x 50 cm.
14) Andrea de Salerno, “Bishop”, on canvas 129 x 50 cm.
15) Palizzi, “Dog´s Head”, on canvas 38 x 48 cm.
16) Palizzi, “Cow´s Head”, on canvas 24 x 33 cm.
17) Marti Alsina, “Landscape”, on canvas, 98 x 175 cm.
18) Brambilla, “Aranjuez I”, on wood panel, 35 x 50 cm.
19) Brambilla, “Aranjuez II”, on wood panel, 35 x 50 cm.
20) Brambilla, “El Escorial I”, on wood panel, 35 x 50 cm.
21) Brambilla, “Aranjuez III”, on wood panel, 35 x 50 cm.
22) Zurbaran, “Saint Francis,” 122x 100 cm.
23) Rosa Salvatore, "Ruins”, 207 x 247 cm.
Zurbaran Francisco "Saint François" 122 x100 cm.
Tizziano "Selfportrait" 91 x 59 cm.
24) Rosa Salvatore “Ruins” 207 x 247 cm.
25) Goya Francisco, “Ladies at the balcony” 195 x 125 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 123. At present in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.
26) Van Dyck Anton, “The Adulteress”, on canvas 168 x 252 cm. Trinidad inv. No 292. At present in the Argentaria Fundation, Spain. Sold via the widow of Colòn, acting as figurehead.
27) El Greco, “Assumption of Virgin”, on canvas 397 x 226 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 299. At present in the Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago.( U.S.A.)
28) Murillo Bartolome Esteban, “Saint Fernando" on canvas, 167 x 111 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 301. At present in the A. Reiman Collection, New York
29) Arellano Juan de, “Vase of flowers”, on canvas, 97 x 41 cm. Trinidad inv. nº307. At present in a private collection. Sold via Sotheby´s in 1989.
30) Munoz Sebastian, “Funeral of Queen María Luisa of Orleans”, on canvas, 207x 251 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 310. At present in the Hispanic Society of America (New York)
31) Tiepolo, “Saint Tecla”, on canvas, 81 x 45 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 659. At present in the Metropolitan Museum, New York
32) Ligozzi Jacopo, “The birth of the Virgin”, on canvas, 238 x 330 cm. Trinidad inv. No 713. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel Gonzalez. acting as figurehead.
33) Lagrenée Jean-Louis F., “Sense of smell”, 135 x 86 cm. At present in El Prado. Sold by Manuel Gonzalez acting as figurehead.
34) Lagrenée Jean-Louis F., “Sense of touch”, 135 x 86 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel Gonzalez acting as figurehead.
35) Parme Julien de, “Kidnapping of Ganimedes”, 249 x 128 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
36) Parme Julien de, “Céfalo”, 249 x 128 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
37) Parme Julien de, “Hector & Andrómeda”, 250 x 122 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
38) Cardenas Gabriel de, “The holly family”, 60 x 125 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
39) Ligozzi Jacopo, “The Birth of the Virgin”, 236 x 332 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
40) Caullery Louis de, “Christ on the cross”, 75 x 56 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
41) Ryckhals Frans, “Domestical tools”, 36 x 30 cm. At present in El Prado Museum. Sold via Manuel González López acting as figurehead.
42) Van der Goes Hugo, “Shepherds praying”. On wood panel, 97 x 245 cm. Trinidad inv nº 716. At present in the Staatliche Museum, Berlín.
43) Escalante, “Immaculate Virgin”, 213 x 175 cm.
44) Borgona Juan de, “Calvary”, on wood panel, 250 x 185 cm.
45) Pereda Antonio, “Immaculate Virgin”, on canvas, 250 x 175 cm
46) Murillo Bartolomé Esteban, “Saint Francis”, on canvas, 430 X 295 cm. Trinidad inv. nº 1009. At present in the Wallraf Richard museum, Cologne (Germany)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DUKE OF HERNANI COLLECTION
The Duke of Hernani collection is one of the most important gathering of paintings in Spain. It is a little “Prado Museum” in itself comprising 681 works, the origin of which is the same as those works in the Museo Español, and where almost all western artistic tendencies from the 14th to the 19th Century can be found, made up mainly of front line artists such as Titian, Carpaccio, Veronese, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, El Greco or Goya.
The Duke of Hernani collection comes from the former collection of the Portuguese Prince, Sebastián Gabriel Borbón y Bragança. The Portuguese Prince was born in Brazil, the son of Pedro de Borbón and Princess de las Beiras. Because of Napoleonic wars, his father, the grandson of Charles III, had moved to Brazil with all the Portuguese royal family. Eleven years later he returned to Spain to take possession of his father's estate, and immediately, in the flower of youth, he joined up on the “Carlist” side in the wars of Spanish succession. He was taken prisoner, all his possessions were confiscated and he was exiled to Naples where he married Cristina de Borbón, sister of the Queen's consort, Francisco de Asís. After renouncing the Carlist cause, his possessions were returned to him including those that he had brought from Naples. The 1868 revolution and the proclamation of the First Republic caused him to leave Spain on the way to a second exile to live out his last days in the city of Pau (France) where he died.
The first reliable document on the totality of the Prince's collection is to be found in his will, drawn up before the Madrid notary José María de la Lastra, on November 1 1887, no. 35966 of the document archives of Madrid.
According to the will, the collection was made up of 800 pictures and exhibited for the first time in “Asylum” granted by the Pau city council and reported on by the director of the gallery Eusebio Rey, by the organiser Salvador Cubells and by the president of the Fine Arts Academy of San Fernando. The collection comprised three groups of pictures: first those coming from Charles III's inheritance, which were confiscated from the Prince in 1835 and formed part of the former Museo de la Trinidad; secondly pictures from his exile in Naples; and finally pictures from purchases made in Spain as a result of the seizure of ecclesiastical property ordered by Mendizábal in 1855. The private collection of the painter José Madrazo, an old friend and director of the Prado Museum should be included in this group. After his death, the collection was bought from his heirs by the Prince.
As a result of the Prince's will, the collection was divided up in 1887 amongst his five children and widow. Alfonso de Borbón, the Prince's son, managed to gather together almost the entire original collection by buying the works from the remaining heirs, except for a few works belonging to his brothers Francisco and Pedro which are at present in the Louvre Museum and in Great Britain. When Alfonso died, he was succeeded by his nephew Manfredo de Borbón, the Duke of Hernani, who kept 681 pictures of the original collection up to his death in 1979.
Manfredo de Borbón and Bernaldo de Quiros, Duke of Hernani (1893 – 1979), was the son of the Marquis de Atarfe and Luis Jesus Borbón, the third son of Prince Sebastián Gabriel. After becoming a widow, his mother got married again, to Manuel Méndez de Vigo by whom she had numerous descendants and for which reason the whole family was always known as Méndez de Vigo. In 1931 the proclamation of the Second Republic and the laws to protect the Spanish Historical Heritage qualified the collection as being property of the Spanish Artistic Treasury. In 1936, the Confiscation Committee seized the Duke of Hernani's entire collection and gave it to the Prado Museum. In 1940 the Headquarters General of the National Artistic Heritage Defence Service returned the collection to its owner and since then, different works have been shown in temporary exhibitions.
In 1976, the Spanish Royal family, allegedly aided by the Duke de Hernani's second wife, Teresa Mariategui, and several civil servants, reportedly drew up a plan to get hold of the Duke of Hernani painting and art collection and sell part of it to obtain capital abroad. The plan is said to have consisted in falsifying the succession of the old Duke and at the same time, destroying the documentation of the collection to avoid any claims by the legitimate heirs.
THE ALLEGED THEFT OF ALL THE DOCUMENTS
The first stage of the operation consisted in stealing documents of the collection from the Duke's home to prevent any possible claims by the owners of the pictures that were about to be stolen. So, on the night of 23 February 1977, two persons posing as servants, hired two months previously, set about stealing the documents after drugging the rest of the staff. The fake servants left the house with the property deeds of the works along with 17 pictures from the collection and set off for Portugal.
Nine days later, The Royal Household, filtered the news of the robbery to the press via the police. On March 2nd 1977, the news was published in Spain, concentrating on the theft of the pictures, with no mention of the documents. Two months later, the pictures turned up in Portugal and the thieves were arrested, but with no mention of the documents stolen.
In 1979, the Duke of Hernani's family discovered that criminal proceedings had never been instigated for this robbery. It was all a set-up and nothing more was heard of the fake servants.
FALSIFYING THE WILLS
The old Duke of Hernani died on January 6th 1979 at the age of 91, and the Royal family allegedly got hold of the pictures, some of which were deposited in the Prado Museum.
In order not to give rise to suspicion, they falsified the Duke's last will, placing his second wife, Teresa Mariategui Arteaga as the only heir, but acting as a symbolic heir or figurehead who would then hand over the pictures. At the same time, in order to justify the later appearance of the pictures in the Royal family's private estate, the king granted a Royal Decree allowing the Duchy of Hernani to be held by his family, to be exact by his sister Margarita, under the alleged pretext that he had received a letter from the Duke expressing his wish to change the Duchy's line of succession through the will. This letter, was again allegedly a forgery.
COVER UP OF THE ROBBERY AND FRAUD
The errors allegedly committed by the Royal family when carrying out the robbery and fraud allowed the operation to be discovered. An intense traffic of influences then came about, directed towards covering up the crimes, which was apparently a leap in the dark by the Royal family.
The Royal family's first alleged mistake was to forget to pay the symbolic heir's inheritance tax, making it obvious that it had not received the inheritance. To show that Teresa Mariategui was a simple figurehead for the Royal household, the Duke of Hernani's family made a formal Public Complaint for failure to pay taxes, and indeed, the Madrid Tax Department received orders to stop Public Complaint 40/86 so that the Royal family's alleged swindle would not come to light. In 1993, the Tax Representative were said to have tried to wriggle out of the affair by falsifying the value of the pictures in officially valuing the collection at 25 million pesetas. An appeal was lodged against such decision, and at present, the proceedings of Public Complaint 40/86 have been added to the Initial Proceedings no. 6049-95 in the Court of First Instance no. 46. The Tax Agency and Sotheby's now claim to have lost the documents.
The Royal family's second alleged mistake was to steal the title deeds from the Duke of Hernani's home, without realising that these were copies of other original documents to be found in the archives of the Spanish Historical Heritage. When comparing the documentation of the Historical Heritage Institute with that produced to sell the pictures stolen and sold abroad via figureheads, it was immediately detected as false. To solve this problem the Royal family, once again allegedly resorted to the abuse of power, by making files 518 and 110 of the Duke of Hernani collection disappear from the Institute.
And not only this, but in order to leave no trail as to the true ownership of the pictures, a falsification of the General Inventory of the Prado Museum was begun. In spite of everything, the alleged cover-up proved to be futile because the Duke of Hernani's family managed to reconstruct the stolen files by means of duplicates existing in the Institute, and which, by mistake, had not been made to disappear.
When it was no longer possible to hide the fact that the Royal family had allegedly carried out the theft and fraud of the Hernani collection, the only solution that occurred to the head of the Royal Household, Sabino Fernandez Campo, was reportedly to openly threaten all the Spanish news media so that they would not publish anything about the Hernani affair.
The threat, which still stands, was first revealed on the C.O.P.E. radio programme by Antonio Herrero on September 28th 1994. The threat obviously extended to all public office holders.
Soon after, the alleged figurehead, Teresa Mariategui Arteaga, who had now been forgotten, died. She left a will revealing that she had not received her husband's inheritance. The Royal family, still under the illusion that they had not uncovered, allegedly approached the then Director General of Registry and Notaries to ask him to falsify another Last Will Certificate to include two subsequent forged wills.
The Director General reportedly carried out the task, with the result that there are now two last will certificate, as well as two forged wills added on.
As a last resort, the Royal family allegedly tried a judicial whitewash of the robbery and fraud of the Duke of Hernani collection, without having to give back the stolen pictures. Heirs of the Hernani family accused some judges of having allegedly joined in the dangerous game. The Supreme Court confirmed them as successors to the Duke of Hernani, ignoring the forged documents.
The Court of First Instance no. 46 gave orders to stop all investigation as to the whereabouts of the pictures and declared null and void all lawsuits presented against the Royal family.