Kustodiev’s Odalisque under review

Russian Tycoon Viktor Vekselberg is set to sue Christie’s over a painting he alleges is a fake. As reported by The Telegraph, Vekselberg (net worth:$6.4 billion) bought the painting, “Odalisque” by Boris Kustodiev, in 2005 for $2.6 million. A year later, Aurora Fine Arts, an investment vehicle belonging to Vekselberg, contacted Christie’s asking for the money back, plus damages. It sited the findings of a top Russian expert who claimed that the billionaire’s Odalisque “belongs to the brush of an unknown artist and represents a deliberate reproduction of a favorite Kustodiev theme.”

A Christie’s spokesperson told us the following about the Vekselberg situation: “We take very seriously any suggestion surrounding the authenticity of a work of art sold by Christie’s. The painting was only returned to us in November last year. Investigations we have undertaken since then have reinforced our attribution. As our research is not yet complete we consider the issue of legal proceedings premature. However, given that Aurora has chosen to issue proceedings before allowing us the opportunity to complete our investigations, we have no option but to defend them.”

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