De Vries sculpture withdrawn from Christie's sale

July 8 2011

Image of De Vries sculpture withdrawn from Christie's sale

Picture: Christie's

Bit of a scandal at Christie's this week over the auction of a £5-8m sculpture by Adrian de Vries. The statue, A Bronze Mythological Figure Supporting the Globe, came from an Austrian private collection, and was to be the centrepiece of 'The Exceptional Sale' yesterday. But it was withdrawn at the last moment.

There appear to have been serious errors with the export procedures from Austria, and at the last moment Austrian cultural officials demanded the sculpture's repatriation.

The only stories about the saga so far are in German, so I don't want to risk getting any details wrong (or be sued). But it doesn't look good at the moment for the auction house. Der Standard describes it as 'a bitter defeat' ('Eine bittere Niederlage fur das Expertenteam'.

The sculpture has disappeared from the Christie's online catalogue, but you can see it on Google's cached page here. More as I get it...

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