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По умолчанию Why fund Viktor Vekselberg is suing Christie's?

Chapter Board of Directors of The Link of Times ", co-founder of Aurora Fine Art Vladimir Voronchenko calls this place the gallery, although it looks more like a museum store, located in the basement of Moscow's most luxurious hotel Ritz-Carlton. Voronchenko requests guard to open the safe deposit the heavy door and turn on the light, the darkness comes alive with hundreds of objects - paintings, books, icons in the expensive salaries, silver utensils, gold snuff boxes, vases, Imperial Porcelain Factory. Store-gallery - the embodiment of the Fund's mission objective, which in mid-2000's marked its major owner, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg: 'to return to Russia of cultural property removed from the country in the XX Century ".
Co-owner of TNK-BP, «Rusal and many other companies are actively involved in the process of buying antiques and he regularly visits the store. Here he can see the icons that once belonged to the imperial family, or collect funds "Link of Times" the world's largest collection of jewelry workshop of Carl Faberge - including items that had been stored at the Princess Margaret and the Rothschild family. Vekselberg wants to eventually put all these things in public museums: one will be in the Shuvalov Palace in St. Petersburg (under reconstruction, the opening is expected in 2012), the second is supposed to open in Moscow through
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3-4 years. In other circumstances, one of the walls of the future museum would hang and the pattern of the Russian artist Boris Kustodiev "Odalisque", bought the fund five years ago. But buying this, apparently, was one of the biggest mistakes the curators of the collection.
 

  Scandalous "Odalisque", sold for $ 2.9 million
 a record price

 Strictly speaking, this pattern is not an established name: "Odalisque" she was named in the catalog auction house Christie's, put it on the "Russian" auction in November 2005. Critics prefer to call it "Naked in the interior, one of dozens of works Kustodiev with a similar plot.
 Kustodiyev (1878-1927) in the early days of fame as a portraitist, and then wrote many outstanding works on the themes of peasant and petty-bourgeois merchant welfare, creating among other things, his biggest hit - "merchant's wife for tea." He has worked extensively in theater, and after the revolution remained in Russia, wrote to posters and paintings of revolutionary themes, including the famous "Bolshevik": a giant red banner with the steps of the revolutionary city. The vast majority of works Kustodiev is in museum collections, to market his paintings come very rarely, so the interest in "Odalisque" - albeit a small and little-known work - was predictable.
 But this excitement was not expecting one: during the trading price patterns in 7,6 times higher than the maximum estimate, and it was sold for $ 2.9 million, becoming the most expensive lot of the auction. Against this backdrop, a few even lost a very good overall outcome of the bidding - $ 38 million, almost twice as much on the same "Russian" auction a year earlier.
 The new price level deafening: the same picture in the auction of the same auction house in 1989 was sold to unknown buyer for $ 34,000, that is for 16 years its value has increased 85-fold. Take-off price is easily explained: in the late 1980's Russian art auctions bought almost exclusively by Western collectors, for whom it was exotic, a side interest, since the beginning of 2000's to the fight including secured Russian collectors, specifically going after a national classic. The result was fast to come. In 2003, at auction auction house Sotheby's «Beauty" the same Boris Kustodiev was sold for $ 1.4 million, setting a new record for the "Russian" auction. Then Kustodiyev was the fourth in the history of the Russian painter, whose works price of over $ 1 million, but before that level could overcome only by Kandinsky, Malevich and Chagall, whose Western collectors buy much more readily than almost unknown outside Russia Kustodiev. Record in 2003 was the turning point of trend - Russian arrived.
 And of course, on regular "Russian" auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's in London, buyers from the former Soviet Union accounted for the bulk of the audience. Among them the November 2005 notice and a partner founded just a few months earlier, the fund Aurora Fine Art of Vladimir Voronchenko. Like most customers auction, it is absolutely not sought to advertise their purchases, and even came to London in person to bid by telephone from the next room. Victorious reports Aurora was not and after the auction: "Odalisque", along with other acquisitions quietly placed in the London store stock, where she stood a few months.
 "I often went there, looked at her, and something I have to embarrass her. It is unclear what, and yet nothing should not confuse, is it? "- Says Voronchenko. Being, by his own admission, 99%sure that the painting still all right, spring 2006 Voronchenko decided nevertheless to bring a picture in Moscow and Vladimir Petrov show, one of the most respected experts in the field of Russian art. Two weeks later, Petrov gave damning verdict - not the picture painted by Kustodiev.
 Fake?

 "When I began to study it carefully, close-up, very surprised - the texture, the inner content of painting the picture completely dropped out of several works Kustodiev" - says in a telephone interview with Vladimir Petrov. He believes "Odalisque" by an unknown artist of the first half of XX century, performed "under Kustodiev. Interestingly, first saw the picture - though in the photo - Peter is not suspected in the "Odalisque" fake. On the eve of November's auction in 2005 an employee of Aurora Fine Art showed Petrov directory. "I flipped through it, did not even pay for this now for special attention, said only that the rejection of it did not seem to cause" - says Petrov. Aurora Fine Art did not apply either to him or to other experts to see the painting before the auction "live". Moreover, as recognized Voronchenko, prior to the auction by the representatives of the Fund is not seen nothing at all expert opinion on the "Odalisque."
 In principle this and was not required: the auction takes on attribution and examination of items offered for sale, and ensures that all the data in the catalog are genuine. In case of doubt major auction houses react quickly: in 2004 the house Sotheby's literally at the last minute withdrew from the auction the painting "Landscape with a stream, called a catalog of works by Ivan Shishkin with an initial price of $ 1-1,28 million was later revealed that a masterpiece of Russian classics have tried to give the picture a little-known Dutchman, an attacker a year ago bought the Scandinavian auction for $ 65,000 and completed the signature of Shishkin and some details. If the sale of questionable things took place, the buyers of the possible error protection standard agreement with the auction house. According to rules of the auction Christie's, the buyer within five years may request a refund for the purchased item, if he proves that the auction have inaccurate information for its sale. (Sotheby's releases of the same period, and the auction house MacDougall's, specializing in Russian art - a year.) In turn, Christie's reserves the right to request a written opinion on the contentious issue of two experts whose opinion recognizes and auction and the buyer.
 Guarantees are serious. But the buyer, of course, may require expert opinions on the subject of interest to him before the auction - that it would be logical to do in case of "Odalisque".
 Until 1989, the existence of the picture was not known, it was not mentioned in any of the catalogs are well studied in the Soviet era Kustodiev. At an auction in 1989 she came from a private collection of Russian emigre Leo Maskovskogo about which virtually nothing is known even to specialists. After the sale at Christie's, an unknown collector painting disappeared from view for 16 years, re-emerged into the light only at auction in 2005. In the history of "Odalisque", so there was only one item. Usually, collectors refer to the "previously unknown, and accidentally found the" works from private collections with the utmost suspicion, because it is such a legend on the market is thrown much of the fraud. Why do Aurora Fine Art decided to buy a job with a short history and opaque?
 Perhaps the fact that the "discoverer" "Odalisque" was himself the head of Christie's Russian department Alexey Tiesenhausen. It was he who in 1989 went to Munich apartment to an elderly woman who wanted to sell a dozen works of art collected by her late husband Leo Maskovskim. Among the paintings discovered Tiesenhausen of Isaac Levitan, Konstantin Somov and Boris Kustodiev - the very "Odalisque." All of them were quickly sold at Christie's. At least that's the story in 2006 described the American Journal of Departures in the article "The new king of art" dedicated Tizengauzenu. (Comments Alexei Forbes could not be obtained.) If the provenance of at least verbally, confirmed himself an international head of the Russian department houses Christie's, it could appease the buyer. But this is only version. Vladimir Voronchenko refuses to discuss it.
 
  According to the experts, "Odalisque" - a compilation of famous works Kustodiev such as "Beauty" (1918) and "merchant's wife and the house" (1922)
 What is it, if not \\u2028 Kustodiyev?

 Expert Centre of Grabar Irina Gerashchenko demonstrates told Forbes plump folder that was once the expert opinion of "Odalisque". Photos and pages in her swollen and stuck together, split them have hardly possible: the materials were badly hit by fire in July this year that killed two firefighters and destroyed a large part of the archives. The remaining materials are stacked in cardboard boxes, from which still bears the strong fumes.
 "I think this compilation, which were used in graphic excerpts from famous paintings Kustodiev, here they are," - Gerashchenko shows survivor protocol expert council "Odalisque." According to Gerashchenko, too many things do not render a true picture of Kustodiev: two-layer soil is not found in standard works of the artist, the lack of preparatory drawings, primitive, and the plane out the details, gross violations of perspective, even the authenticity of the signature is in serious doubt. "I would not even say that it is a quality fake - it's just a bad level," - she says.
 The findings of all respondents Forbes experts - and examination of "Odalisque" was performed at the request of Aurora and the Russian Museum and Tretyakov Gallery - almost the same type: a picture painted in 20-50-XX century, as evidenced by the composition of colors, the author tried to use the known motifs and techniques Kustodiev, but to sustain the level of Russian classics he did not succeed. Vladimir Petrov believes that the picture could have been written in Prague in 1920 operated a hub of counterfeit Russian Art, which produced emigrated from the Soviet Russian artists.
 Experts also looked at the version according to which "Odalisque" let the poor, but the real work Kustodiev. In 1919 (this date is in the picture) Kustodiyev was seriously ill: because of tuberculosis of the spine in 1916, he could only move in a wheelchair. "We have a very long discussion: Kustodiyev could do such a bad thing just for sale? 1919, devastation, Petrograd, to feed his family: he could, of course - said deputy director of the Tretyakov Gallery Lydia Iovleva. - But the handwriting of the artist must still match, but he is not the same. "
 Aurora Fine Art at Christie's approached with complaints about the "Odalisque" after receiving an expert opinion in the name of Grabar Center in late 2006. Next was to earn a standard mechanism for resolving such disputes, but somehow he has failed.
 judicial perspective

 "We wanted to do everything amicably, quietly and did not want to wash dirty linen in public, because the scandal did not want anyone, including us, all the scandals undermine the confidence of collectors in the market", - said Voronchenko, choosing his words carefully. He has been collecting a long time and very seriously - only in his collection of icons, for example, more than 600 items. Voronchenko combines his passion with the core business: he is the owner of "Lux-Holding, one of Russia's largest distributors and retailers of luxury goods (operates a chain of jewelry boutiques hour Louvre). In the 1990's created the fragrance Voronchenko network "Rivoli", which later sold a large European retailer Douglas. Since Vekselberg he knew almost from childhood - they were born in a small town on the Drogobych western Ukraine.
 Collector with experience Voronchenko before encountered counterfeits on auction sites. In April 2001, for example, his company "World of Art" bought at auction at Christie's in New York, a small landscape by Ivan Shishkin's "Forest area" for $ 76,000. Consequently, experts have found that it was a fake. Negotiations with Christie's lasted almost one and a half years, but eventually returned the money to the auction, and the story never floated out, said Voronchenko.
 As Forbes said one expert, such a situation with major auction houses having at least 5-6 times a year - right now there is another hearing in one case, but the Russian buyer painting strives to any of its details are not leaked to the press. Why do Aurora Fine Art after three years of struggle "under the carpet" has decided to go on the attack on the auction house, announcing the lawsuit in London's High Court? And why Christie's was unable to quietly settle the conflict with one of their major clients?
 Voronchenko, seems to have lost patience. "Above us only mocked - he says. - We have for months had not received replies to emails for months could not talk to the right people on the phone, in general, the attitude towards us was as to some developing market Aborigines. Christie's refused to comment, coupled with the conflict, justifying their silence so that the case is already before the court - the first meeting is scheduled for January 2011. The only reaction Christie's - approved and circulated by the press service of the paragraph of text in which the auction confirms its intention to seriously examine and verify the conclusions of the "Odalisque" and make all necessary examination of their own paintings, which in the spring of 2009 was transferred back to London.
 Christie's tenacity may be explained by the fact that the company hid a "ace in the hole," says one of our interlocutors. He said that according to rumors, the auction house is the positive conclusion of one of the experts of the Tretyakov Gallery. (Lydia Iovleva denied the possibility of a positive opinion of the gallery, but did not exclude the possibility that it could prepare someone from staff.) Christie's may also try to insist on the version you have already considered the Russian experts: "Odalisque" is to let the bad, but true Kustodiev work. In this case the auction is in no way at fault. However, at Christie's must be irrefutable documentary evidence of the attribution of this work, but so far nothing about them was not known.
 If the parties (for whatever reason) did not conclude a settlement agreement, that is likely to come at them for a long trial. Work Kustodiev waiting for their "finest hour" for 80 years. Several years of litigation, which put an end to the issue of "Odalisque" is not so much. "Frankly, if I were in place [Christie's], would do exactly the same. The later brought back the money, the less they will cost - recognized Voronchenko. - It's business, nothing personal ».




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