After Inkombank was declared bankrupt in 2000, active preparations started for selling its properties, including cultural values. The collection numbered about 1,000 works of art, among which there were canvases of West-European masters of 17th-19th centuries, works of Russian masters of 19th and 20th centuries (the central place belongs to Avante-Guard founders’ works). The works were picked up in artists’ studios, in private collections, in galleries, at fairs. In 1993-1994, three works of Malevich were bought: Black Square, Self-portrait and Portrait of the Wife. Though, the most worthy thing in the Inkombank’s collection is namely the Black Square. This was why the fate of national property was so important both for Creditors’ Committee of the bank and for Russian Ministry of Culture. The famous canvas must certainly remain in Russia. In early April, the Creditors’ Committee and Competition’s manager, Mr Yesin received a letter from the Ministry of Culture reporting about the Ministry’s privilege right in buying the Black Square. The committee agreed to keep the unique work in state part of Russian Museum Fund and decided to hand over the work of Malevich to State Ermitage, first for an expert examination which is necessary to objectively state the value of the picture. April 22, independent expert Mr Putnikov recommended by the Ministry of Culture valued the picture at 1 million dollars. So, already April 25, the most famous work of Malevich was sold to Ermitage at the assessed valuation. Later, it will be exposed in a hall of the museum. According to the Creditors’ Committee, the valuation is just, especially taking into account the fact, that the picture was sold to the state without auction. Totally, the sum gathered from selling the bank’s collection made 2,5 million dollars which will be paid to the creditors. The bargain between Ermitage and Inkombank was financed by Interros holding company, old partner of Ermitage in some sponsor programmes. Natalia Boiko PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/04/25/40326.html
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