Spanish artist Miro’s farm needs tender, loving care

The subject of paintings now in neglect

Miro's "La Ferme" ("The Farm"), crowded with nostalgic images of the area, shows the house from the side. Ernest Hemingway bought it, and his widow donated it to the U.S. National Gallery of Art. (Photo provided by The National Gallery of Art)Miro’s “La Ferme” (“The Farm”), crowded with nostalgic images of the area, shows the house from the side. Ernest Hemingway bought it, and his widow donated it to the U.S. National Gallery of Art. (Photo provided by The National Gallery of Art)
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“There is no point in renovating the house without the [involvement] of the Miro Foundation,” Mr. Vilanova said.

Not possible, said Rosa Maria Mallet, director of the Miro Foundation, a hilltop museum overlooking Barcelona with a core collection donated by Miro himself. In 2011, the Foundation passed the 1-million-visitors mark — 60 percent of them foreign tourists. “We cannot assume a new responsibility of the house,” Ms. Mallet said over lunch at the foundation.

The foundation is a self-supporting institution with limited income. Ms. Mallet confirmed that an arrangement was being discussed but declined to give details. “We can spend one or two million euros ($1.2 to $2.4 million) on restoration [of the farm], but when it comes to upkeep and maintenance, things become more complicated,” she said.

All of which may become moot because Miro’s descendants have put the house in the hands of a leading Barcelona real estate company, Fincas Exclusivas, which is offering it for sale on the Internet for an undisclosed asking price. The listing is complete with images of the house taken in better days. Today, it would be — in real estate parlance — more of a fixer upper.

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