“German Auction House Accused of Acting as “Fence for Stolen Goods” After Selling Stolen Kandinsky Painting

Authorities have been outraged by the decision of a berlin-based grisebach auction house to sell a painting by russian artist wassily kandinsky. the painting, which was allegedly stolen from warsaw’s national museum in 1984, was sold for €310,000 (â£265,000). officials in warsaw have confirmed that the painting had a stamp on its reverse side from the museum where it was originally located. deputy prime minister and culture minister, piotr glinski, expressed his outrage on twitter, accusing the german auction house of acting as a “fence for stolen goods”.

Painting was sold at auction in berlin on an unknown date. the auction took place at the grisebach auction house in the german capital. the ministry of culture has announced that they will take legal steps to try and retrieve the painting, describing the auction as “highly unethical and contrary to the standards that should apply on the international art market”.

Painting was sold despite the fact that it was stolen from the national museum in warsaw, poland in 1984. the auction house declared it had taken the “greatest care” when examining the ownership of the kandinsky watercolour and had reached the “clear conclusion” that there were no legal objections to the sale. the current german law allowing the sale of art looted during world war ii implies that a work is no longer considered stolen after 30 years. polish authorities were notified of the painting’s theft by the polish culture ministry, however marcin krol, the polish consul in berlin, was unable to prevent the sale.


By Evey Lovelace

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