Official internet-portal of St. Petersburg, cultural capital of Russia
Petersburg CITY / Guide to St. Petersburg, Russia
Printed from:
Culture news, 11.07.2003 11:07

Hermitage Director: attempt to seize Hermitage exhibits on display in Paris is provocation

Director of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky 'The attempt to seize Hermitage exhibits on display in Paris is simply provocation, although I am reluctant to use this word in connection with national artwork,' Director of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky announced at a press conference yesterday.

He said there is no cause for concern. 'All of the exhibits are protected by the law,' Mr Piotrovsky said. 'There is a decree that was signed by the French Foreign Ministry and Culture Ministry on December 8, 1994, whereby the French government guarantees that Hermitage exhibits on display in Paris will be returned on time and will not be seized,' he added. According to this decree the 266 exhibits currently on display at the Saint Petersburg-Paris exhibition at the House of Invalids, most of which are owned by the Hermitage, are insured against confiscation from April 30 to September 29, 2003.

'We are not going to stop the exhibition, which will continue until August 31,' Mr Piotrovsky said, adding that 'canceling the exhibition would be the worst thing to do. We trust our French colleagues and the French government as we know they take the law seriously in France. The Hermitage has state protection and all questions about Tsarist debts have already been resolved,' he said.

The French association of Tsarist bondholders announced their attention to go to the supreme Paris court and demand that the Hermitage exhibits are seized, claiming that the Russian government still has debts of EUR 340 million from Tsarist times and have demanded that Russian artwork is seized in compensation. They say they have bond documents in their possession which prove the legitimacy of their claim

News source:

(c) 2000