The Sotheby's auction house has suspended the sale of Ivan Aivazovsky's Evening in Cairo, which the Russian Interior Ministry believes was stolen in 1997, Sotheby's worldwide director of sales Matthew Weigman told Interfax on June 2.
The sale of the Evening in Cairo painting by Aivazovsky, Lot No. 23, was suspended at the sender's request on Tuesday, June 2, he said.
Weigman said that the auction house itself wanted to go ahead with this sale because it had tracked no record of this painting in databases of stolen art.
During its own inquiry, Sotheby's established that this painting by Aivazovsky was not mentioned in any databases of stolen art, he said. The auction house contacted the Moscow police department, which, for its part, said that it had no reliable information as to whether or not the painting put up for sale at Sotheby's was authentic, Weigman added.
According to earlier reports, the Russian Interior Ministry asked Sotheby's to suspend the sale of Aivazovsky's Evening in Cairo, but the auction house rejected the request on June 1.
A Sotheby's spokesperson said in a statement that Sotheby's offering of Aivazovsky's Evening in Cairo would proceed on June 2, 2015 in accordance with the agreement between the owner and the consignor.
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