The Sotheby’s auctioneer removed Fedor Bognevsky’s portrait of Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna and another three paintings from sale without specifying his reasons at a Russian art auction today.

As Mikhail Shvydkoi, Russia’s Culture Minister, was addressing newsmen in St. Petersburg shortly before the London event, he said he hoped the Grand Duchess portrait would not appear at the auction.

The ministry appealed to the Sotheby’s top two weeks ago to withdraw the canvas on grounded suspicions that it had been smuggled out of Russia.

“We hope they’ll meet us halfway and withdraw the picture from the auction till it becomes clear just how it found its way to London,” said Mr. Shvydkoi.

The portrait was at the Russian Museum of St. Petersburg up to World War II, when it was evacuated to the Crimea with the other exhibits. The canvas then vanished to reappear only quite recently.

Published in: on May 22, 2003 at 2:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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