Museum Security Network

News from Poland – Stolen Painting Found in Russia

News from Poland – Stolen Painting Found in Russia.

“The Girl with a Dove” was painted by Antoine Pesne, a court painter of King Frederick II of Prussia, in 1754. Eight years before World War II, Museum in Poznan bought the painting from a private collector. “The price of it was 3,000 Polish money, a lot for those times” – says Piotr Michalowski of the National Museum in Poznan.

In 1943, the German occupation authorities ordered the evacuation of the museum. The collection was transported away to eastern Germany. Two years later, the paintings were taken over by the Red Army. Only part of the collection returned to Poland after the war. “The girl with the Dove” disappeared without trace.

Last year, the merchant from Moscow contacted the Polish Ministry of Culture. He recognised the lost painting in one of his canvases. Michalowski went to Russia. “I was able to confirm the authenticity of the work by comparing with photographs taken before the war. The picture is damaged, but fortunately very little” – he says.

National Museum in Poznan would like to recover the painting. “Its value is difficult to estimate. But it would be the only painting by Pesne in our collection” – highlights Michalowski. But the matter is not simple. Poles will probably have to pay for the canvas. Negotiations, since the summer of 2010, are carried out by the Ministry of Culture.

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