Sotheby's to proceed with sale of Russian 'stolen' painting
MOSCOW - ReutersThe international auction house Sotheby's said on May 31 it would proceed with the auction of a painting by a famous Russian artist that the Russian authorities had said was stolen.
Russia's Interior Ministry said on May 30 that "Evening in Cairo" by Ivan Aivazovsky had been stolen in 1997 from a private collection in Moscow, and that the Russian branch of Interpol had requested British police to block the auction.
But Sotheby's said it had found no record of the painting in databases of stolen art, including one distributed by Russia's Culture Ministry.
Russian media reported that the painting was purchased in the 1940s by the Nosenko family, who were part of the Soviet ruling elite. The Sotheby's website lists the work's provenance as the collection of N.I. Dedov.
"Sotheby's offering of Aivazovsky's 'Evening in Cairo' on the 2 June 2015 will proceed with the agreement of both the Nosenko Family and the consignor," Sotheby's said in e-mailed comments.
Sotheby's did not give further details and did not immediately reply to Reuters e-mailed questions. Reuters was unable to contact the Nosenko family, not was the Russian Interior Ministry available for comments when contacted on Sunday.
Ivan Aivazovsky, who lived between 1817 and 1900, was a prominent Russian-Armenian artist of the Romantic school noted for his landscapes and seascapes.
The 1870 painting is listed as a lot on the website of Sotheby's, with an estimated value of 1.5-2 million pounds ($2-$3 million), as part of a collection of Russian pictures due to be sold in London on June 2.