Danish Cultural Treasure in the United States Seeking Political Asylum?

“Man rejser sig fra bordet”, a.k.a. “The Anniversary Dinner at Adelaide” is a 105 yrs old painting by the Danish painter Laurits Tuxen.

Ten years ago, in 1991, the Danish National Cultural Treasures Committee decided that it was of such major cultural importance for Denmark that it could not leave the country without a permission. However, today, the painting finds itself in the United States. Politiken reported that The Danish National Cultural Treasures Committee and the  the Junior Counsel to the Treasury are investigating the how and the who of this mysterious journey.

“It is now up to the Junior Counsel to the Treasury to evaluate the case in all of its aspects,” says National Cultural Treasures Committee Chairman Erland Kolding Nielsen adding: “This is clearly an illegal export – so you could call it a case of smuggling.”

In 1995, the nonagenarian painting somehow was sold in Denmark, and then again in New York in 1997.  The mystery is that neither the identity of the purchaser of the painting in Denmark nor the identity of the consignor of the painting for the 1997 Sotheby’s New York sale are know. The current possessor of the painting is John Oden, allegedly a principal at the Alliance-Bernstein LP (NY). The painting served as a backdrop and an inspiration for dinners held by Oden.  In an interview given in 2007, Oden admitted that “Someday [the painting] probably belongs back in Denmark. But I’m going to own it for the next few decades. I’m in no rush to release this painting.”

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