France Battles UK Gallery for “Stolen” Old Master Painting

Posted on November 9, 2011


France is refusing to allow a London gallery to retrieve a 17th century Tournier painting that they brought in to display at a Paris art fair.  France claims that The Carrying of the Cross was confiscated by the government during the French revolution, put on display in a museum, and thereafter disappeared in 1818.

The painting resurfaced in an estate sale of an Italian art collector in 2009, and it made its way into the possession of the Weiss Gallery of London, which purchased it for 400,000 Euros last year.  The gallery brought the work into France to display at the Paris Tableau, an art fair dedicated to Old Masters.

After recognizing the painting, the French Culture Ministry has demanded its return, and correspondingly banned the export of the painting.  The Weiss gallery responds that France knew where the piece was and never claimed it stolen before now.

Read the full article on BBC: France bars UK gallery from leaving with ‘stolen’ art