A Stolen Van Gogh Painting Ends up in a US Museum

Van Gogh’s painting “The Novel Reader” on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Detroit, USA, is stolen. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, Jan. 10, by Brokerarte Capital Partners and its sole owner Gustavo Soter, a Brazilian art collector, says The Guardian.

The lawsuit alleges that the museum has borrowed a painting from an illegal owner. It is noted that Soter purchased the painting in 2017 for $3.7 million, after which “a third party immediately took possession of the painting.” The document also states that the collector “never transferred ownership or any rights to the painting to this third party. Because the third party took possession of the painting in May 2017, plaintiff has no knowledge of the painting’s whereabouts.”

Soter asked the museum to turn the painting over to him before the exhibition ended. A federal judge, in turn, ordered that the painting not be moved until a court hearing scheduled for Jan. 19.

The 1888 oil painting, titled Une Liseuse De Romans, or “The Novel Reader,” depicts a young, dark-haired woman reading a yellow-covered book. The work is on display at the museum as part of the Van Gogh in America exhibition. In addition to the scandalous painting, the exhibition features 74 works by the Dutch Post-Impressionist. The collector estimates the work to be worth at least $5 million.