Iran, Germany discuss loan of TMCA Western collection to Berlin show again

October 21, 2018

TEHRAN – The plan to loan a collection of Western art from the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) for a show at Berlin’s National Gallery was discussed once again in a meeting held on Sunday between German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold and Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Abbas Salehi, the culture ministry announced.

“A showcase of the TMCA art collection has great significance to Iran,” Salehi said and added, “However, there have been some concerns about this issue.”

He said that his art assistant has been assigned to hold meetings with German officials to allay “the public’s concerns” to prepare the ground for loaning the art collection to Germany.

Klor-Berchtold expressed his hope that all obstacles to loaning the art collection will be removed, and proposed organizing an exhibition of an art collection from Germany in Iran in order to assure Iran that holding the German showing of the TMCA Western collection would be in complete safety.

Based on agreements Iran signed separately with Germany and Italy, the TMCA was scheduled to loan a collection of 40 Western works and a number of pieces from Iranian artists for shows at Berlin’s New National Gallery and Rome’s MAXXI Museum in late 2016 and early 2017.         

The plan to loan the collection to Germany and Italy faced opposition from Iranian art experts and gallery owners.

The opponents said that the collection could be impounded by legal claims from the family of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last monarch of Iran, and relatives of the royals.

They also said that Italy and Germany may return copies of the artworks instead of the originals.

In a letter sent to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad-Javad Zarif in November 2016, former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier promised the full and safe return of the collection.

However, former Iranian culture minister Reza Salehi-Amiri announced afterward that the plan to loan the art collection to Germany and Italy has been put on hold pending further investigation.

Photo: German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold (L) and Iranian Culture Minister Seyyed Abbas Salehi (2nd R), Deputy Culture Minister for Artistic Affairs Mojtaba Hosseini (1st R) and an unidentified person are seen in a meeting in Tehran on October 21, 2018. 

MMS/YAW

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