Paintings from the Morozov collection will remain in France

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the question of returning about 200 works of art from the exceptional Morozov collection to Russia and Ukraine has been raised. The Ministry of Culture announced to AFP on April 9 that two of these paintings, which were exhibited at the Vuitton Foundation until April 3, will be “stay in France”.

Tensions around construction loans with Russia

the first table “it will remain in France as long as its owner, a Russian oligarch, remains subject to an asset freeze measure”the ministry said, without naming the owner. The second, a portrait of Margarita Morozova by the painter Serov, belongs to the Dnipropetrovsk Museum of Fine Arts in Ukraine and will remain “until the situation in the country allows for their safe return”for “the request of the Ukrainian authorities”.

The unhooking of the works is underway

The particular situation of a third work “held by a private foundation, linked to another oligarch who has just been added to the list of personalities subject to freezing measures, is the subject of an examination by the State services”the ministry added.

Behind the Morozov exhibition

The white Russian oligarch of the freezing of his painting (a self-portrait of Piotr Konchalovski) is Petr Aven, close to Vladimir Putin, who appears on the list of Russian personalities subject to Western sanctions, said a source close to the case. . The other Russian oligarch linked to the private Magma foundation is Viatcheslav Kantor, whose painting is part of the collection, the same source said.

All of the nearly 200 works of art in the Morozov collection, whose exhibition ended on April 3 at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, are being unhooked and must return to the Russian museums to which they belong.

Three Russian museums responsible for almost all loans

Most of the works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Bonnard, Monet or Manet that were exhibited together with Russian painters such as Golovin, Gontcharova, Korovin, Mashkov, Melnikov, Malevich, Repin, Serov… will be able to recover its original institutions, mainly the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, as well as the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

The collection of the visionary Morozov brothers exhibited at the Louis-Vuitton Foundation

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, many voices have been raised to demand the seizure of the Morozov collection by France. However, this seizure is legally impossible due to a law of August 8, 1994 that establishes that “Cultural property loaned by a foreign power, public authority or cultural institution, intended to be exhibited to the public in France, will be exempt from seizure during the period of its loan to the French State or to any legal entity designated by it. (…). This system is regularly implemented in the form of joint decrees by the ministry responsible for culture and the ministry responsible for foreign affairs..

In the case of the Morozov collection, this decree had been issued on February 19, 2021, well before the opening of the exhibition on September 22, 2021. Having been extended until April 3, the embargo exemption decree of works has been extended until May 15, 2022. And it could be extended again if the conflict continues.


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