“Ambroise Vollard”

Cézanne watercolour in search of its owner

Ottawa, 20 June 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Debate has arisen regarding the identity of the owner of a watercolour by Cézanne, which has been taken from the collection of a French art dealer. The scattered belongings of French art dealer and collector Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939) include Group of Trees, 1890, a watercolour by Paul Cézanne, which has recently re-surfaced at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The piece undoubtedly made its way to the gallery during the second world war. The work was part of a lot of 600 artworks, mainly issued from the Vollard Collection, brought from France in 1940 by art dealer Martin Fabiani, notoriously known as a ’gigolo’ and collaborator to the Nazis. The latter, who was entrusted with the management of Vollard’s estate, took hold of the collection when the owner died in a car accident in 1939. He subsequently sent the works to the United States by boat, but after travelling to Spain and Portugal, the cargo was intercepted by the British Navy and sent to Ottawa. In the meantime, Fabiani, who provided Jewish dealers with works confiscated by the Nazis, was imprisoned. The painting remained in Canada until 1949, when Fabiani, released, attempted to regain the works via a British court. A Parisian judge gave him back ¾ of the seized works, with the rest going to Vollard’s two sisters. Two lawsuits took place in France during the 1950s, when a French court attempted to overturn the verdict, followed by a second case in the 1960s. It appears that all three lawsuits were dismissed. For now, the problem lies in identifying the current owner of the work, since no complaint has been lodged in the last fifty years. The painting was never exhibited in Canada, and it re-surfaced in an article published in The Ottawa Citizen Newspaper by Ian MacLeod, which detailed its elaborate...

Tags: , , , , , ,

Heirs of Ambroise Vollard demanding 429 paintings to Serbia

Paris, 20 April 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). The descendants of Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939), a Parisian art dealer who actively supported avant-garde artists (Cézanne, Picasso, Matisse, etc.) and discovered Van Gogh, officially registered a complaint against Serbia. According to the complaint registered by the descendants’ lawyers and detailed by the Reuters agency, the National Museum of Belgrade has 429 ill-gotten works, seized by the Yugoslavian Government in 1949. These works had been entrusted by Vollard, before he died in a car crash in 1939, to a friend in Belgrade called Erih Slomovic. Being Jewish, he was sent to a concentration camp and died there in 1943. Still according to the complaint, the Serbian government then seized the works. These proceedings are based on court judgments pronounced in France in 1996 and in favour of Vollard’s descendants. These court judgments are about the 190 paintings left in Paris by Slomovic. According to François Honnorat, the French lawyer summoned by Reuters, these works’ situation has been known for decades; no museum or curator owning them could be ignorant of it. Ambroise Vollard, born in Saint-Denis-de-la-Réunion in 1866, was a recognized art dealer, notably portrayed by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He commissioned the Suite Vollard, a series of a hundred of Pablo Picasso’s most famous engravings. Picasso had not finished it when Vollard died and so gave his name to the series. About fifty pastels by Edgar Degas, lithographs by Paul Cézanne and Mary Cassat, and works by Renoir and impressionist painters are among the 429 works concerned by the...

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,