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Rare $3 million painting by French master Jean-Léon Gérôme returned after 70 years

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 February 2016

Stolen in Stalin era, it was found in an FSB secret service operation as it was prepared for black market sale.

'It was stolen from the exhibition in the old museum building in 1946.' Picture: VostokMedia

The painting - 'Shepherd' - dates from 1857 and it is now returned to the Far Eastern Art Museum in Khabarovsk exactly seven decades after it was removed from a display by an unknown person.

The chief curator of the Far Eastern Art Museum, Svetlana Zhuk, said: 'It was stolen from the exhibition in the old museum building in 1946. There was only one supervisor in the hall of European Art. 

French painting comes back to Khabarovsk


French painting comes back to Khabarovsk

The regional branch of the FSB was tipped off that an antiques black market was waiting a work by a 'famous French painter'. Pictures: VostokMedia

'In this room of 180 square metres were six partitions, and pictures were hung on each of the walls. This small picture in a small frame could easily be cut off, hidden under  a jacket and taken out. One supervisor could not notice this. 

'I must say that it was a time when people were not looking for entertainment, but for food.' It was the year after victory in the Second World War and Soviet people 'had no idea that it is possible to steal a painting, sell it and get some money', she said. 

French painting comes back to Khabarovsk


French painting comes back to Khabarovsk

This small picture in a small frame could easily be cut off, hidden under  a jacket and taken out. One supervisor could not notice this. Pictures: VostokMedia, AmurMedia

The regional branch of the FSB was tipped off that an antiques black market was waiting a work by a 'famous French painter'. Details of the seizure and who held or was seeking to sell the painting - valued at around $3 million - was not disclosed. 

Gérôme lived from 11 May 1824 to 10 January 1904 famed for the style known as Academicism. It is not immediately clear how his work originally came into the possession of the art museum.

Comments (1)

suppose back than the painting was not valued at 3 Million $... but still it would be interesting to know how a little known Museum i na little known town could afford such a painting. or was it a present? a gift? they inherited the picture? for sure there must be some documentation. maybe the museum does not WANT to dig deeper?
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
26/02/2016 11:09
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