A SPANISH baroness has rocked the art world by auctioning off a Constable painting.

Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza sold The Lock to an unidentified buyer at Christie’s in London today for £22 million (€27.3 million).

She said she was a victim of the Spanish economic crisis and that the upkeep of her €100 million art collection had become too much to bear.

“People think I am wealthy because I was married to Baron Thyssen,” she said.

“My business is in paintings but the paintings don’t give me any money.”

But the sale of the 1824 canvas, a Suffolk countryside idyll in the same group as The Hay Wain, has caused uproar in Spain and the UK.

Early this week former Royal Academy boss Sir Norman Rosenthal resigned from the board of Madrid’s Thyssen Museum  over the sale.

“I feel I have no other alternative but to resign,” he said. “This action represents a moral shame on the part of all those concerned.”

Last week the move was labelled as ‘self-serving’ by the baroness’ step-daughter Francesca von Habsburgh.


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