Finland seized $46 million worth of artwork, including a Titian and a Picasso, enforcing EU sanctions on Russia

Finnish customs officers have seized works of art valued by insurance at more than 42 million euros ($46 million), preventing them from returning to Russia, under European Union sanctions imposed in response to the invasion of Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin.

Finland intercepted three shipments of art at the Vaalimaa border crossing between Finland and Russia last weekend, seizing one vessel. The Finnish Heritage Agency will oversee the storage of confiscated items until the sanctions are lifted, according to Reuters. Artwork is still Russian property and is kept as evidence.

“Professionals have been consulted for the movement and storage of goods,” Customs Enforcement Director Hannu Sinkkonen told a news conference. France Media Agency. “We are not going to open packages.”

Deliveries “include works that cannot be appraised; they are invaluable,” he added.

Giovane donna con vecchio di profilo (c. 1516–18). Collection of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia. ” width=”1024″ height=”904″ srcset=”https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/04/Giovanni_Cariani_-_Seduction_-_WGA4218-1024×904.jpeg 1024w, https://news .artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/04/Giovanni_Cariani_-_Seduction_-_WGA4218-300×265.jpeg 300w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/04/Giovanni_Cariani_-_Seduction_- _WGA4218-50×44.jpeg 50w, https://news.artnet.com/app/news-upload/2022/04/Giovanni_Cariani_-_Seduction_-_WGA4218.jpeg 1255w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” />

Giovanni Cariani, Giovane donna con vecchio di profilo (c. 1515–16). Collection of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

EU sanctions introduced in mid-March prohibit the sale, supply, transfer or export of luxury goods – including works of art – to Russia, due to the invasion. Authorities say there are 10 people suspected of violating the penalties for carrying s.

The works, which include paintings, statues and antiquities, had been loaned to Italy from the collections of the State Hermitage and Tsarskoye Selo museums in Saint Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery. in Moscow, the Russian Culture Ministry told Russian News. Moscow agency. The works of art returning from Japan belong to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

“Sanctions enforcement is part of our normal operations and we always direct our controls based on risk. The shipments that have now been criminally investigated have been detected as part of our regular enforcement work said Sami Rakshit, head of Finland’s customs enforcement department, in a statement. declaration.

Titian, Young Woman in a Feathered Hat (ca. 1536).  Collection of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Titian, young woman with feather hat (circa 1536). Collection of the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

At the beginning of March, the Hermitage had asked three Italian institutions to return the loaned works earlier than expected. At that time, the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan exhibited the works of Antonio Canova Psyche revived by Cupid’s kiss (1787-1793); the Palazzo Reale, also in Milan, featured exhibits by Titian young woman with feather hat (circa 1536) and Giovanni Cariani Giovane donna con vecchio di profilo (1515–16); and the Fondazione Fendi in Rome had Young woman (1909) by Pablo Picasso on display.

The Russian ambassador to Finland is said to be in contact with the Finnish Foreign Ministry about the situation.

“As for the arrested paintings, they will come back and pay a fine,” Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement. “Those who did this in Finland probably don’t remember their story well.”

Finland has been strict in applying sanctions against Russia, ban 21 luxury yachts to leave Finnish waters last month amid suspicions that the vessels belong to sanctioned individuals.

This week, France agreed to return 200 paintings loaned to the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris for the exhibition “The Morozov Collection: Icons of Modern Artto Russia, despite calls for the confiscation of the works.

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