French authorities seized the tycoon’s painting before it was shipped to Russia

The spokesman declined to say where the works were being kept, “for obvious security reasons.”

Until April 3, the two paintings were on display at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris as part of the “Morozov Collection: Icons of Modern Art”, a huge exhibition of the works. once belonged to two Russian textile tycoons Ivan and Mikhail Morozov. Their collection, which includes works by Gauguin, Van Gogh and Picasso, was confiscated about a century ago, after the October Revolution, and became property of the state.

Most of the paintings in the exhibition come from Russia’s state museums, including the State Hermitage Museum, in St.Petersburg, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in Moscow. Freda Matassa, an art consultant who helped develop a similar anti-forfeiture law in the UK said: Under a 1994 French law designed to encourage international art loans, works that cannot be seized by a foreign government.

But, Ms. Matassa said, French law does not apply to privately owned buildings.

Representatives for Mr. Aven and the Avant-Garde Mastery Museum did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Louis Vuitton Foundation said it would not comment either.

Even before the seizure, some art shipping companies expected the “Morozov Collection” work to find it difficult to return to Russia, as the war in Ukraine disrupted routes. traditional air and road. The most direct route into Russia from Western Europe is currently through Finland, however last week Finnish customs officials detained three shipments of fine arts at the border between the two countries, due to suspicions that the goods could not be found. This product violates EU sanctions. The works were quickly released when it became apparent that they were outside the scope of the sanctions.

The French culture ministry said it was also keeping a third painting from the “Morozov Collection” in Paris for safety reasons. Serov’s “Portrait of Margarita Kirillovna Morozova” (1910), of the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum, in the city of Dnipro, eastern Ukraine, is expected to soon be the subject of a Russian attack. A spokesman for the Ministry of Culture said that Ukrainian authorities had asked that the painting stay in Paris until it was safe to return it.

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