The Culture Minister Dejan Prešiček has decided to protect the art collection owned by the bank Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB), which is to be classified as a national treasure. The NLB is in the process of being sold. In his words, the collection remains in the possession of the NLB and in addition, it must remain as a whole and must not leave the country without the Ministry’s permission.
The Minister said at today’s press conference that immediately after the start of the mandate, he started a dialogue with the responsible persons in the NLB to find a solution for the collection. He has described NLB as a very prudent owner, “who has been working on the arrangement of the collection since 2016, but unfortunately has not found the right interlocutor in the country up to now”.
“We are in a very sensitive period, the NLB is being sold, and the Ministry was not interested in harming, inhibiting or complicating the sale,” Prešiček said, adding that the purpose of the cooperation was primarily to protect the collection.
Therefore, he decided to classify the collection as national treasure at the formal request of the NLB. This is a formal protection. The collection as such remains the property of the NLB. He pointed out that it cannot be sold in pieces, but only in its entirety; and that the collection also cannot be “alienated from the country by sale or as an exhibit for an exhibition” without the permission of the Minister of Culture.
According to Prešiček’s forecasts, the NLB is planning to make a Slovenian banking museum in the premises of the Ljubljana Municipal Savings Bank on Čopova street. The collection, now located in NLB’s business offices, would therefore be on display at the Savings Bank.
The collection consists of 2294 works of art and 315 banking items. It has, according to the Minister, a symbolic power, as it shows how a business entity has invested in culture and has helped, over the years, in developing said culture. The bank has shown, in turn, that art is important to it. There are not many such collections in Slovenia.
All the works in the collection are not equally important, according to the minister, but they did not want to make distinctions between “important works, a little less important works or even not very important works”. The goal was to keep the collection as a whole.
He also expressed the wish that the NLB, which created this art collection for 120 years, but has not purchased any artwork for the last several years, may again start buying artwork and creating a new collection.
The value of NLB’s art collection is estimated at 1.8 million euros. However, as the minister added, this is an old estimated price. Professional services will now review the work catalog and give a new rating.
In which cases will the collection be able to leave the country? The Minister says they will allow this either for promotion of the collection itself or for the promotion of the importance the NLB has given to the collection of artworks. “In this case, we will definitely allow the collection to be shown outside Slovenia,” he added.
The state has made a commitment to the privatization of the NLB in 2013, in exchange for the European Commission’s consent to the bank’s rehabilitation with state aid.
Well, most likely, this is yet another trick to stop the sale of the NLB, that is, the ATM that supports the Deep State.