otro sobre MAP en el Tate

En este artículo se cita a la jefa/dueña del MAP, quien asegura que Flaming June jamás será vendida porque hoy en día forma parte de nuestra cultura. Confiamos que este dato sea cierto, uno nunca sabe después de la venta de Cemento Ponce y el Nuevo Día. Lo que nos pone mal es que se describa a la isla como una canto de tierra desconocido en medio del Caribe, y al Museo como una galería oscura en un pueblo metraya. El MAP es un Museo de categoria internacional, de eso no hya duda, pero el atrevimiento de parte de estos reporteros nos lleva una vez más a cuestionar los métodos de promoción del MAP, que por lo visto, necesitan un upgrade. Y es obvio que Londres quiere sus obras maestras de vuelta y estos artículos denigrantes y amarillistas con nuestro pueblo forman parte de la campaña para recuperarlas.

Pre-Raphaelites from Puerto Rico

How did dozens of fabulous British works of art, most of them Pre-Raphaelites, end up in an obscure museum on a Caribbean island? As two of them go on display in London, Alastair Sooke tells their fascinating story

On the day before he died of a heart attack in 1898, the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones was busy at work on The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, a massive oil painting inspired by Malory in which a mortally wounded King Arthur is laid out on a bier.

The artist had been working for 17 years on his unfinished magnum opus, which had been commissioned in 1881 by George Howard, later ninth Earl of Carlisle, for the library at Naworth Castle in Cumberland.

But that was not where the painting ended up. For the past 45 years, the 21ft by 9ft canvas has hung in an obscure museum in the crumbling colonial town of Ponce on the south coast of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

How on earth did Arthur in Avalon, which is currently on loan to Tate Britain, find its way to the Caribbean? And why did nearly 70 other British works of art, predominantly by Pre-Raphaelite artists, end up in the same collection?

The answer is that a far-sighted Puerto Rican industrialist, politician and philanthropist called Luis Antonio Ferré avidly collected Victorian works. In 1963, he bought Arthur in Avalon for 1,600 guineas at Christie's. In the same year, he also acquired Sir Frederic Leighton's voluptuous 1895 painting Flaming June, also on loan to Tate Britain.

Known as the "Mona Lisa of the western hemisphere", the painting has long been coveted by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a keen collector of Victorian art, who came across it on sale for £50 in the Sixties but could not persuade anyone to loan him the money to buy it. Lloyd Webber reportedly offered Ferré £6 million for the painting in 1996, but was turned down. He was not the only collector to be rebuffed: before his death, aged 99, in 2003, Ferré received more than 50 offers for the work.

Ferré, who made his fortune selling cement and was venerated by his compatriots as "Don Luis", served as governor of Puerto Rico between 1969 and 1972. He bought Arthur in Avalon and Flaming June as the crown jewels of a new museum in his home town of Ponce. The first stone of a stunning white modernist building, designed by celebrated American architect Edward Durell Stone, was placed in 1964, and the Museo de Arte de Ponce was officially inaugurated the following year.

Ferré had dreamed of founding a museum since the Fifties, when he travelled to Europe and began to collect minor Old Master paintings under the guidance of Dr Julius Held, a Rubens specialist and professor of art history at Columbia University in New York. Working on a limited budget, he targeted unfashionable pictures, and collected pieces representing every major school of Western art. "The scholars and critics all called it kitsch," he recalled in 1993, referring to his extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and drawings. "Everyone thought I was crazy to buy them."

Today the museum boasts more than 3,000 pieces, including examples of Italian Baroque, Spanish Golden Age and contemporary Latin-American art, distributed across 14 galleries. The distinctive hexagonal shape of the galleries allows natural light to flood every corner, and was Ferré's idea.

Every year, hundreds of people visit the museum, which is currently closed for extensive renovation to repair damage caused by hurricanes during the Nineties. But collectors hoping to persuade its trustees to part permanently with its treasures should not hold their breath. At a press conference on Tuesday, María Luisa Ferré, the collector's granddaughter, told the Telegraph: "These paintings now are part of our culture. They belong to us."

'The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon' and 'Flaming June' are on display at Tate Britain, London SW1 (020 7887 8888), until Feb 1, 2009.