The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation announced last Wednesday the planned exhibition of the Western collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) in Berlin has been called off after Iran had not granted export permits for any of the artworks scheduled to be sent to Germany, Deutsche Welle reported on Wednesday.
The president of the foundation, Hermann Parzinger, said that he “regrettably had to decide to take this step.”
Based on an agreement signed between the foundation and the TMCA in October 2015, the museum agreed to send a selection of artworks from its Western collection, which is considered to be the most important outside of North America and Europe, for a show in Germany.
The exhibition was set to open at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin on December 4, but was postponed in November after Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Reza Salehi-Amiri halted the plan to send the collection to Germany and ordered further investigations.
Earlier in September, the plan faced opposition from Iranian art experts and gallery owners.
The opponents said that the collection could be impounded by legal claims from the family of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last monarch of Iran, and the relatives of the royals.
Some works of the collection were confiscated from homes of the royal family and their relatives after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
The collection was scheduled to travel to Italy for a show at the Maxxi Museum in Rome from March through August.
Giovanna Melandri, president of the Fondazione Maxxi told the New York Times on Wednesday that she and her team were “verifying” whether it was still possible to hold the exhibition in Rome. “We are now asking our Iranian counterparts” if they will meet “their commitments” to Maxxi and to the Italian government, and will know in early January, she said.
Iranian officials have made no comment after the cancellation of the show at the Berlin gallery.