Versace’s Stolen Zoffany Portrait Returned Home

Posted in Art Market by Editor on November 26, 2010

Stolen in 1979, Johan Zoffany’s Portrait of Major George Maule was slated to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in March 2009 as the centerpiece of the contents of Gianni Versace’s Lake Como villa. The painting was pulled from the sale at the last moment, and — as reported this week by Reuters — has now been returned to its original owners:

Johan Zoffany, "Portrait of Major George Maule, acting chief engineer of Madras" (Photo from "The Economist")

. . . A direct descendent of the subject of Portrait of Major George Maule contacted the Art Loss Register, which tracks lost and stolen art and antiquities, and the ALR in turn contacted Sotheby’s. “What could have been a protracted legal battle between two very well financed European families and their copious sets of lawyers has been amicably settled by the Art Loss Register’s art mediation team,” the ALR said. Although the terms of the settlement between the two families remained confidential, the ALR’s Christopher Marinello said: “There is no doubt that Gianni Versace had no knowledge that this painting was stolen when he purchased it in the 1980s. “This portrait does … hold particular sentimental value to the … heirs and the Versace family were extremely gracious in their willingness to compromise in seeing its return.” . . .

The Economist’s coverage of the story from March of last year is available here»

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