April 22, 2008

Alexandre Iacovleff painting sold by Attleboro Art Museum: Does Culturegrrl know?

A painting by Russian artist Alexandre Iacovleff donated to the Attleboro Art Museum a half century ago has been sold at auction for $713,000 to raise money for the museum's endowment. The 4-foot by 7-foot painting entitled "Under a Kirghiz Tent" was sold Tuesday by auctioneeer Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s did not disclose the name of the buyer. The painting was donated to the city in 1957 by W. Charles Thompson, who worked at a Boston art gallery and knew the artist personally. The Attleboro Art Museum decided to sell the painting after examining the cost of insuring it and security to keep it safe. (via Boston Herald) Last year, Michael Levinson reported in the Boston Globe that one of Iacoveff's paintings, also donated by Thompson, was discovered hanging on an auditorium wall of a public school in North Attleborough, MA. When the school officials learned it was valued at $600,000 to $800,000 and could fetch twice that at auction, they secretly called Sotheby's and wisked it away, but Greg Smith, Thompson's grandson, read about the planned sale in the Sun Chronicle and managed to persuade town officials to postpone the auction. The North Attleboro School Department hoped to sell the painting and use the proceeds to advance arts programs, but town selectmen unanimously rejected the plan. They are currently planning to bring the painting back from Sothebys and hang it somewhere in town hall.

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