Has the Czartoryski Raphael been found?

January 5 2017

Image of Has the Czartoryski Raphael been found?

Picture: Wikipedia

Probably not. But further to the news (below) that the Polish government has acquired the Czartoryski Collection, the director of the National Museum in Krakow, Andrzej Betlej, has said that he believes the famous missing Raphael portrait can be traced to a specific private collection. The portrait, once thought to be a self-portrait, was looted from the Czartoryski collection by the Nazis, and not seen after 1945, when it was taken to Germany by Hans Frank. Betlej has not said which collection it is in, or indeed even in which country. But it seems he has some evidence to suggest that painting is still alive and well, somewhere.

The timing of the disclosure is interesting in that under the terms of the Polish state's acquisition of the Czartoryski collection, it now assumes ownership of any missing works, should they be recovered. So the €100m purchase could yet turn out to be even more of a bargain than thought. The Raphael, were it to ever be sold, must surely be worth in excess of €100m, perhaps even twice that. Assuming, of course, that it's in good condition.

More here (in Polish).

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