Gallery returns France's 'stolen' masterpiece

 

John Lichfield
Thursday 10 November 2011 01:00
Comments
Le Portement de Croix (the carrying of the cross)
Le Portement de Croix (the carrying of the cross)

France has offered to reach an amicable settlement with a British art dealer over a 17th-century masterpiece which was been missing, believed stolen, for two centuries.

Earlier this week, the French culture ministry placed an export ban on the Nicolas Tournier painting after it was exhibited at a Paris art fair by a leading London gallery. The ministry said that the canvas, valued at €657,000 (£560,000), had been stolen from a museum in Toulouse in 1818 and remained the "inalienable" property of the French state.

Mark Weiss, of the Weiss Gallery in Jermyn Street, London, has now received a letter from the culture ministry offering to negotiate "compensation" if the painting remains in France. Mr Weiss said yesterday that he was "satisfied" with the "correct" tone of the letter.

"We have allowed the French government to take possession of the painting," he told The Independent. "They now accept that we have always acted in good faith and with complete transparency."

The painting, Le Portement de Croix (the carrying of the cross) turned up in Florence in 2009 after being missing for almost two centuries. Paris says the painting was stolen in 1818.

Mr Weiss says there is no proof of theft. In any case, he says he bought the canvas last year in good faith for €400,000 from a French dealer when its authenticity was still questioned by the French state. He said he was happy to enter talks on "compensation" so the painting could return to the museum in Toulouse.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in