Mikhail Gorbachev’s “Forgive me” autograph sold for $183,000 in Moscow


On Feb.19, a man referred to as “artist V. Ivanov” sold a work of his at the 12Y Stul auction house in Moscow – a very unusual one. It’s a canvas with the big black inscription “Prostite” (“Forgive me”) and a signature of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, whose rule ended with the disintegration of the once powerful USSR.

The best thing about the work an ironic “art provocation” is that Gorbachev never wrote the inscription. As the author explained, he met Gorbachev as a student in 2009, when he gave a lecture at his university. “After the lecture, there was an informal conversation… I prepared a big canvas and a marker pen and, finding the courage, asked Gorbachev to draw something”. The former politician smiled, signed the canvas and replied: “Draw something yourself, you have enough fantasy, I’m sure!”

And so Ivanov did, the same day adding the inscription “Forgive me”, and becoming Gorbachev’s co-author. As luck would have it, the canvas has brought him 12 million rubles ($183,000) 10 years later. The buyer preferred to stay anonymous.

What Gorbachev thinks of this amusing story is anyone’s guess.

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