Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Rotting capitalist era art

It is a wonderful thing to behold the way respectable institutions cling so tightly to ill gotten gains. The battle by Greece for the relocation of the Elgin marbles from the British Museum in London to Athens has been well and truly in the news of late and overshadowed another wonderful example involving those highly principled people t Yale University. Through the largesse of a donor, Yale ended up with Vincent Van Gogh's famous picture "The Night Cafe" after it had spent many years in a gallery of Soviet Russia after being seized come the revolution of 1917 from the collection of one Ivan Morozov (1871-1921), a Russian textile tycoon and discerning collector of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The sale by the Soviet to raise funds was part of a program to rid the country of“art of the rotting capitalist era”. Now a descendant of old Ivan has filed a suit against Yale in an endeavour to get the family treasure back, and the university has filed one of its own to assert its valid title to the picture. The only winners in this dispute are bound to be the lawyers for the respective sides while if Vincent were still alive to observe it all he would surely spend another three nights on the drink at the 24 hour cafe as he did when he produced the work in question.
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