Posts Tagged ‘provenance’
Last September, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced it would auction off a chunk of its trove at Christie’s to benefit its endowment. The other big change at the Warhol Foundation in 2012 was the dissolution of its authentication board, which was becoming overly expensive due to constant lawsuits. Both changes were motivated by the Warhol Foundation’s desire to further its mission and increase its grantmaking activities. Everyone, except Jose Mugrabi, wins!
On November 12, Christie’s began the Warholmania with three auctions—one for photographs, paintings and works on paper, and prints (the catalogues have some crazy graphic design). The auctions featured 354 works and brought in $17,017,050. (There is still a ton of work to be sold by Christie’s through a selling exhibition in Hong Kong and an online sale next month.)
Restitution Issue: Norton Simon Museum
Adam and Eve, painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in c. 1530, are a pair of panel paintings currently on view in Pasadena, at the Norton Simon Museum. There hasn’t been an update on the painted pair since October, but the ownership of the Adam and Eve remains an unresolved dispute. Marei Von Saher is the daughter-in-law of Jacques Goudstikker, a previous owner of the Adam and Eve. During the 1940s, Goudstikker fled Holland and was forced to sell the panels to the Nazis under duress. The issue of restitution would seem clear if this case was that simple. A questionable, century-long provenance and a legal tangle both complicate the case. Let’s explore.
Norton Simon bought the Cranach panels from George Stroganoff-Scherbatoff , a Russian, in 1971. Stroganoff-Scherbatoff was the heir of an aristocratic family who claimed to have owned the paintings prior to 1917. Stroganoff-Scherbatoff received/bought the paintings from the Dutch Government in a restitution agreement in 1966. The Dutch Government was restituted the paintings (remember Goudstikker fled Holland during WWII) after WWII. The Nazis forced Goudstikker to sell them in the 1940s. Goudstikker had bought the paintings from the Soviet government at an auction in 1931. The Russian government had confiscated Adam and Eve from the family of Stroganoff-Scherbatoff prior to 1917. Seems like a resolved case of restitution: Russian heir gets stolen paintings back and then sells them to a collector (Norton Simon).