Art

The arrest of paintings from Russian museums is being discussed in France

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Canvases from the legendary collection of Morozov call for confiscation after the exhibition in Paris

An exhibition of works of new European art (works of the end of the XIX – first quarter of the XX centuries) from the collection of Ivan Morozov continues in France. The works of art were supposed to return to Moscow in April this year, but now their future is unclear. And it’s not just that the cross-border communication between the EU and Russia is broken. In France itself, social media users are already calling for the arrest and even confiscation of the exhibition.

One of the country’s leading newspapers, Le Figaro, writes about such radical proposals from social media users. The newspaper notes that the most determined supporters of this idea even suggest that the money raised from the sale of the seized paintings be used to support Ukraine, including the military.

These opinions remain only opinions, no more, say French lawyers. For example, Olivier de Beck, an art lawyer interviewed by the publication, states that works of art belonging to foreign state museums cannot be confiscated under the law of August 10, 1994. In addition, any major exhibition with foreign participation, he said, is accompanied by special documents from the Ministry of Europe and the French Ministry of Culture, guaranteeing the exhibits from arrest.

There is such a letter of guarantee signed by both ministers regarding this exhibition. It was signed in February 2021, and recently extended until April 2022, as the exhibition itself has been extended.

The fact that no one is going to expropriate Russian cultural values ​​was also emphasized by the Witton Foundation (a division of the well-known LVMH holding), which organized the exhibition. As long as it lasts – that is, until April – the paintings are safe, the fund guarantees their return. However, all experts talk only about the current situation, but it can change in a few days.

It will be recalled that the exhibition of Ivan Morozov’s collection, which is now on display in the Boulogne Forest, includes about 200 works from the Hermitage, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the Tretyakov Gallery, as well as Minsk, Dnipro and private collections. By the way, private paintings are the most vulnerable in terms of possible arrest. Their owners, including Peter Aven, belong to the category of Russians who may be affected by EU sanctions in the first place and in the near future.

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