Friday, October 19, 2007

Provenance? What provenance?

Cosmetics magnate, Ronald Lauder, for whom art collecting is "like a sickness", is being accused by the New York Times of a lack of openness by refusing to reveal the full provenance details of his magnificent art collection.

His refusal to comply with the glasnost now expected of any responsible museum or private collection has naturally led to speculation that his collection might, or could, contain works looted by the Nazis. Mr Lauder himself claims a spotless record where Holocaust restitution matters are concerned, so why then his refusal to do the right thing?

Asked by the New York Times to release an inventory of his German and Austrian works, Lauder refused. “It’s my private collection," he said. "Would it be O.K. for people to see what dresses you have in your closet?”

I'm only blogging this as an aide memoire to myself in case I forget that provenance is still a critical issue. Full depressing story here.

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