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One more person demands Van Dyck’s painting found in Turkey

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, January 12
The Ministry of Culture of Georgia has found permission released in 2010, according to which the art work - allegedly a painting by Anthony Van Dyck - found by the Turkish police in Istanbul, was taken from Georgia.

The document was issued by a ten-member commission, which allowed Zahar Huseinov and Malkhaz Makharadze to take the painting out of Georgia.

According to the Head of Cultural heritage, Besik Matsaberidze, the commission could not identify the author of the masterpiece but they assessed that the painting was created between the XIX - XX centuries in Europe.

“The issue was discussed by a 10-member commission in 2010 and the permit issued by them on December 8 is accompanied by a report, which says that the painter could not be identified but the painting comes from Europe and is dated at the end of the XIX or at the beginning of the XX century. The painting was estimated to be worth 5.000 USD,” Matsaberidze stated.

It should be mentioned that Van Dyck’s painting – which depicts a mythological scene of a woman - was found in Istanbul when two businessmen were trying to sell the painting for 14 000 Turkish Liras.

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

The detainees said they bought Anthony Van Dyck’s painting in Georgia for 2, 000 USD dollars.

Two sides claim that the painting belongs to them. One side is Eka Abashidze, who says the painting belonged to her family for 15 years, before they sold it to Zahar Huseinov and Malkhaz Makharadze.

However, the Abashidzes say the buyers paid them only 7, 000 USD from agreed cost 37 000 USD. The family demands the masterpiece back and says that in case it is returned, they will return it to Holland.

Zahar Huseinov confirms he exported Anthony Van Dyck’s painting, which he bought from the Abashidze family, to Turkey, but he claims he did it legally.

At the same time, Huseinov, who currently lives in Gardabani, considers himself a victim, as he claims that nobody has paid the price of the painting to him.

"My friend Malkhaz Makharadze and I bought the painting from the Abashidze family with full observance of the rules. We had all the necessary documents when we took the canvas to Turkey and everything was legal. We left the painting at my friend’s house, but as we later found out, my friend's son stole it. We filed a lawsuit with the local Prosecutor’s Office, though the case has not been investigated,” Huseinov told Rustavi 2 TV.

He demands that the canvas painting be returned to him and claims that he is the legal owner of the painting because the painting was stolen.

According to Turkish media, experts in Istanbul assessed the painting was the lost masterpiece of van Dyck. However, a final analysis will be made in Europe.

A Georgian expert and member of the commission in 2010 which examined the painting, Dali Lebanidze, asserts that the painting they examined was not van Dyck’s masterpiece.

“We re-examined the report and its photos and I can confirm that that the painting discussed in 2010 does not resemble van Dyck’s style and handwriting, otherwise we would have noticed it and we would have paid more attention to the painting,” noted Lebanidze.

The Flemish Dutch artist Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641) was a leading painter in England and Europe, specializing in portraits. He completed about 800 paintings before his death at the age of 42.