• Short Summary

    The sale of a collection of famous paintings by French Impressionist artists, valued at more than 2 1/2 million pounds sterling (6 million U.

  • Description

    The sale of a collection of famous paintings by French Impressionist artists, valued at more than 2 1/2 million pounds sterling (6 million U.S. dollars), has become the centre of bitter controversy between the British auction house, Sotheby's and the Argentine Government.

    The collection, belonging to a 92-year-old Argantine businessman Senor Antonio Santamarina, is due to be sold at Sotheby's in London on Tuesday (2 April) evening, but the Argentine Government has bene making desperate last-minute efforts to postpone the sale.

    The paintings have been described as the most important collection of Impressionist pictures to come on the market for at least tan years. They include paintings by Pissarro, Sisley, Toulouse Lautrec and Renoir, first exhibited in the lats nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They are new valued at between a 100 and 150 thousand pounds sterling each. 'Icabelle au Manchon' by Edouard Manet is expected to fetch around 300 thousand pounds otorling (720 thousand U.S. dollars).

    The Argentine Government alleges that the paintings were illegally exported, because an export certificate is required for works of art to leave the country and there allegedly is no evidence of a certificate having been issued. A law introduce in July 1973 explicitly forbids the export of works of art. But Sotheby's hove said the paintings were physically in England by June. There is also some alleged doubt about the exact ownership of the paintings.

    Sotheby's have turned down all requests to postpone the sale and have been pressing ahead with preparations for the auction. It will be attended by 400 ticket-holders.

    An Argentine judge has asked Britain's supreme court to order a suspension of the sale and the argentine Embassy has bene consulting its lawyers about applying for a court injunction.

    SYNOPSIS: The London auction house -- Sotheby's -- has become involved in a bitter wrangle with the Argentine Government over the sale (on Tuesday) of thirty five immensely valuable French Impressionist paintings. The Argentine Government has been trying to get Sotheby's to delay the sale because the paintings -- belonging to a ninety-to-year-old Argentine businessman -- my have been illegally exported to Britain.

    The paintings have been described as the best Impressionist collection to come on the market for the last ten years.

    They include pictures by Pissarro, Jean Renoir and Degas.

    This one -- 'L' Inondation at Port-Marly' painted by Alfred Sisley at the beginning of the century -- is expected to fetch between a hundred and a hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling. 'Ecuyere sur on cheval blano' by Toulouse Lautrec is expected to go for the some amount and the total proceeds chould come to more than two and a half million pounds sterling.

    'Isabelle au Manchon' by Manet, is expected to go for three hundred thousand pounds. But the Argentine Government say the whole sale should be stopped because there is allegedly no trace of the required export certificate. Sotheby's have resisted all pressures to postpone the auction. But the Argentine Government has asked for a suspension form Britain's supreme court -- and is considering other legal action.

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