б. Benois. King’s Promenade. 1906. Gouache, water-color on plywood

The Omsk Custom-house has arrested 58 pictures including works by Repin, Pissaro, Kandinsky and Benois. The total value of works which are the part of Riga collection is 52 000 000 rubles. The pictures were exhibited at M.A. Vrubel Omsk regional museum of fine arts. The exhibition named «Bridge of Friendship. The Art of West Europe, Russia and Latvia of the 18th–21st centuries» was organized by the Riga «ID» gallery. Most of the works were created by the artists of the Russian school of different streams of the late 19th – 20th centuries.

The thing is that after the exhibition project was over no one among organizers worried about the checking of documents for export of works of art back to Latvia. The museum had to declare pictures at the St. Petersburg custom-house.

All 58 canvases among which there were «The Landscape with Ukrainian house» by I. Repin, «The Portrait of the Old Man» and «The Landscape with Woman’s Figure» by G. Myasoyedov. Pictures were packed in seven boxes and a suitcase. The St. Petersburg custom-house did not draw up the documents and sent this collection on custom’s inner passage to the Omsk custom-house. At some stage this freight estimated at 52 000 000 rubles was lost and became just a luggage. It is a known fact that in Omsk pictures were received as a parcel.

Andrey Mayevsky, the organizer of the exhibition and the owner of some pictures taken away to Omsk noticed that but for the raised clamour in Latvia it will be necessary to organize one more exhibition in the Motherland for everybody to believe that canvases are returned.

After such negligence the owner of the collection from Latvia was under the threat of confiscation of canvases and The Omsk Museum had to pay a fine at the rate of half of the double cost of pictures. However The Omsk Kuybishevsky District Court decided that it was an incident after which the museum was declared not guilty in illegal export of cultural valuables. Pictures were lifted an attachment and the registration for export to Latvia began.

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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