Victoria Mandly in her living room with one of the works of art she took with her to her new home. / SUR

The house move that led to an art donation

The artist, who was downsizing, has given Moclinejo council 40 paintings by Malaga artists from the 70s, 80s and 90s. "They deserve to be on display," she says

CRISTINA PINTO

When Victoria Mandly started to think about moving, there were a lot of things she wanted to get rid of due to a lack of space. The artist, who was living with her husband Francisco Navarrete in Rincón de la Victoria, was downsizing from a house to an apartment and she had a collection of art works that she didn't want to end up packed away in a room in her new home.

"I thought about selling my complete collection of paintings by artists from Malaga. I would either sell all of them or I wouldn't sell them at all," she said, in a conversation with SUR.

Victoria knew she needed to do something with the paintings because she didn't have anywhere to put them, but they held a special place in her heart because they were all by artists known to the couple, who had been creating this collection with great dedication over many years.

The exhibition can be seen in the Antonio Segovia Lobillo exhibition room (Moclinejo) until the end of January

So, Victoria set about selling the works of art and talked to several possible purchasers, including the local council. As none of the responses was positive, she carried on contacting other councils in the area, one of which was Moclinejo. There, the Councillor for Culture, Domingo Alcaide Fernández, showed an interest.

"I rang Moclinejo town hall, thinking that as they had more space they might want the pictures. They said they couldn't buy the collection, but they offered me the chance to exhibit them there for several months and then, afterwards, they would look after them for me," she explained. And that is how it all began.

It was this offer from the team at Moclinejo town hall that changed Victoria's mind about selling her collection of works by Malaga artists. "I didn't know anyone there personally, but they came straight away to pack up the pictures and set up the exhibition; I was so impressed by their generosity that I decided to donate the 40 paintings to them. I would have had to keep them packed away in our apartment, but they really ought to be on display. They deserve to be seen. Also, I know Moclinejo through my husband, who had family there, and because the council is known for the work they do in terms of culture," she said.

In Moclinejo, they still find it hard to believe that Victoria Mandly has donated this collection of works from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, which are valued at over 30.000 euros, and they are overwhelmed by her generosity.

"We got on really well together, but when she said she was going to give us the collection I couldn't believe it. I kept thinking that things like this don't really happen. But it was true," says Domingo Alcaide. "It was like love at first sight," says the curator of the exhibition, Víctor Manuel López.

Now, the Antonio Segovia Lobillo exhibition room in Moclinejo is displaying the 40 works from the Victoria Mandly and Francisco Navarrete collection, nearly all of them by the couple's friends.

"All the artists were our friends or were known to us. Some of the paintings were exchanged for mine and my husband and I bought the others from studios and galleries. I remember that I swapped a painting with Celia Berrocal; I am also very fond of the three by Sánchez Gallardo, and those by Virgilio Galán... there are three of mine and a portrait that Antonio Montiel did of me," said Victoria.

"These pictures deserve to be on display. I always say that a work of art is something you see. It would have upset me greatly to have had to keep them hidden away in my home," the artist said about the collection which, as well as her own works, includes those by Díaz Barberán, Torres Matas, Esteban Arriaga, Jaime Rittwagen, Paco Hernández, Virgilio Galán, Sánchez Gallardo, Antonio Blanca Sánchez, León Olmo, Leonardo Fernández, Amparo Ruiz de Luna, López Pascual, Robles Muñoz, Celia Berrocal, Rodrigo Vivar, Mingorance, Raquel Arroyo, Alfonso Parras, Santos Hu, Antonio Montiel, Gómez Navas, Carlos Cruz, Muñoz García, Pérez Almeida, Mario Pelegrín, Esther Romero and José Claros.

"There are classic, realist and ultra-realist subjects, but they all have something in common," she explained.

This gift in the form of 40 works of art came to Moclinejo because of Victoria Mandly's house move and her love of art, which is so great that the rest of the world can now enjoy these works by Malaga artists somewhere other than in her home.