The messenger logo

Georgian family says van Dyck’s painting found in Istanbul belongs to them

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 11
Georgian citizen Eka Abashidze says that a painting by Anthony van Dyck, which went missing but has been found in Istanbul, belongs to her family, and it was kept in their house for 15 years.

The Abashidzes told Imedi TV that they had decided to sell the picture in 2010 due to financial difficulties. The owners did not know the author of the painting and its real value.

According to Eka Abashidze, two men agreed to buy the picture and promised to pay $37,000 for it. She said the buyers had deceived them and paid only $7,000.

The family says they filed a lawsuit against those people and won but could not get the rest of the money.

The Abashidzes are ready to hand over the Van Dyck painting to Holland in the event that it is returned to them.

“Everybody knows it was in our house and we were its owners. I know the initials according to which the painting can be identified,” Eka Abashidze stated.

A lost panting by the XVII centur Dutch artist Anthony van Dyck has been found in Istanbul after two businessmen who attempted to sell the painting were caught in the act.

The Istanbul Directorate of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime says the van Dyck painting was stolen from Europe and brought to Istanbul after passing through Russia and Georgia.

The detainees said they bought Anthony Van Dyck’s painting in Georgia for 2 000 USD dollars. They also claim that the canvas was examined in Georgia to establish its authenticity.

The businessmen were detained at one of the hotels in Istanbul when they were trying to sell the painting for 14 million Turkish lira.

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has also commented on the issue. According to them, the detainees are citizens of Turkey and the case has no links with Georgia.

“Two ethnic Turks have been detained in Turkey. According to the Interior Ministry’s attache to Turkey, the detained, as well as the seized items, have not been confirmed as having links with Georgia,” the statement of the MIA reports.

Previously, Turkish media reports said that the detained businessmen were Georgians, though this was unconfirmed.

Dutch artist Anthony van Dyck was the most prominent Flemish Baroque painter of 17th century Europe. A prolific painter of portraits of European aristocracy, he also executed many works on religious and mythological subjects and was a fine draftsman and etcher.