Paradis fiscaux et judiciaires

Palace to house Rostropovich art

lundi 1er octobre 2007

Palace to house Rostropovich art

photo : Rostropovich was one of the finest cellists of the 20th century

The Russian billionaire who bought the art collection of late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for more than £20m ($41m) is to put it on permanent display.

It will be housed in the Constantine Palace in St Petersburg, a venue for international summits.

Alisher Usmanov, a mining magnate and Arsenal Football Club investor, bought it earlier this month from London’s Sotheby’s just before its auction date.

He said he had stepped in to keep the 450 artworks together in Russia.

The artworks would be generally open to the public, said the head of the Kremlin’s property department, Vladimir Kozhin.

He said the palace, which was recently restored, has top-flight security and physical conditions for preserving the collection’s 450 pieces, which include porcelain and paintings by renowned artists such as Ilya Repin.

However some members of the arts world were disappointed by the news.

"If the collection will be in the Constantine Palace, it’s understood that the people won’t see it," Georgy Putnikov, vice-president of the International Antiquarian Confederation, was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti news agency.

’Very sad’

Mr Kozhin said that apart from closing for official events, the collection generally would be available for viewing daily.

Vladimir Gusev, director of the prestigious State Russian Museum in St Petersburg had been keen for the works to go to his museum.

"I held negotiations to place at least part of the collection at the Russian Museum," he said.

"It’s very sad that these negotiations were not successful."

But Tatiana Pchelyanskaya of the St Petersburg History Museum approved of where to house the art.

Private collection

"It would not be right to spread the collection around," she said.

The artworks had been assembled by Rostropovich and his wife, Galina Vishnevskaya.

Rostropovich, who died in April at the age of 80, was considered one of the finest cellists of the 20th century.

He and his wife amassed one of the world’s finest private collections of Russian art, including glassware, porcelain and works by leading painters such as Repin and Boris Grigoriev.

Mr Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest men, is estimated to be worth $5.5bn (£2.8bn). He recently bought a 14.6% stake in Arsenal for £75m.

Story from BBC NEWS.

Published : 2007/10/01 17:52:57 GMT


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