Palma.— “The destruction of Spain's artistic heritage. W.R. Hearst: The Great Purchaser” research compiled by José Miguel Merino de Cáceres and María José Martínez Ruiz has recently been published by Cátedra.

The authors have had access to the correspondence of one of Hearst's agents, Arthur Byne on the trips he carried out in Spain on behalf of Randolph Hearst(1863-1951.) The magnate was also known to have purchased art and archaeological heritage in Majorca.

In 1929, under Hearst's instructions, Byne bought for the sum of 9'500 dollars, the stairs, roof and two Renaissance galleries of an aristocratic home “Posada de s'Estornell located in Calle Morey where the street joins Calle Pureza in the historic centre of Palma.

The authors of the new book claim that Hearst, under the guise of being a “friend of Spain and art historian” the magnate succeeded in bleeding the country of some of its most precious works of art.

Referring to the purchases by Hearst and other American millionaires as “a tragedy for Spain”, the authors point out that in those times, there was no protection for the country's historic and cultural heritage as there is today.

Merino said that laws to protect art work were introduced in 1933 and others to stop exportation brought in around 1925, but he pointed out that it was actually very difficult to enforce them.