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In Mexico, uncertainty about the fate of the national bank's art collection


HERITAGE – The American giant Citigroup separates from Banamex. The perfect opportunity for Mexico City to get its hands on the important private collection belonging to the banking group.

Nationalization or not?

In Mexico, the fate of the important collection of the Fomento Cultural Banamex whets the appetites of the government.

A subsidiary of the National Bank of Mexico (Banamex), the third banking group in the country, the cultural institution is one of the various structures that could change hands in the coming months, in the wake of the sale of the company by the American conglomerate Citigroup.

Not very interested in the resumption of Banamex's financial activities, Mexico could nevertheless intervene to save the historical collections exhibited in Mexico City and in several other cultural centers, a member of the Mexican government suggested last week.

Read alsoCitigroup withdraws from Mexico, Santander and a possible buyer

“It would seem wise that a heritage containing invaluable artistic pieces for the Mexican people remain in our country”

, declared on January 18, the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard in a column published in the daily

La Jornada


close to the government .


A change of course, while two weeks ago, the Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Adan Augusto Lopez, affirmed that the government was not interested in any of the activities of Banamex.

The Fruits of the Earth

, by Frida Kahlo.

This oil on canvas painted in 1938 is one of the preserved masterpieces of Palacio de Iturbide, Mexico City.


An important private collection

The Fomento Cultural Banamex was inaugurated in the 1970s, in the then freshly renovated setting of the Palacio de Iturbide, an 18th century building located in the historic center of Mexico City. Its collections, which stretch from the colonial era (16th century) to the present day, are made up of several masterpieces of Mexican pictorial art. Paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera make up the most famous pieces in its galleries, where paintings by José María Velasco, Remedios Varo and Juan O'Gorman are also exhibited. Finally, the Fomento keeps an important fund of popular art, photography as well as a collection of manuscripts and old coins. That is all the makings of a great museum, which also has three exhibition centers in Mexico, in Mérida,Durango and San Miguel de Allende.

To read also Stations of the Cross for the restitution of Mesoamerican heritage

The private collections of the Fomento Cultural have nevertheless been in turmoil since the announcement, at the beginning of January, of the upcoming separation between Citigroup and Banamex. The American group has made it known that it does not intend to disperse the collection of the National Bank of Mexico, but to sell it in its entirety. Among the list of suitors for the remains of Banamex, several foreign groups, in particular Brazilian and Canadian, would also be interested in the acquisition of part of the banking empire, report specialists in the sector quoted by the news agency Reuters. So many actors who could be tempted to repatriate part of the collections. An unthinkable prospect for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

“We are talking about institutions and collections that bring together the best painters in Mexico and the world. This is our cultural heritage and we therefore seek to ensure that it remains in our country”

, explained the Mexican head of state on January 17, during a press conference. Inviting Mexican entrepreneurs to make their proposals, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also stressed, from January 13, that he was in favor of a


of a banking group founded in 1884 and bought in 2001 by Citigroup. The fight against the dispersal of Mexico's heritage and cultural assets, especially archaeological remains, is one of the main priorities of the presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador,took office in December 2018.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-01-26

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