Friday, September 29, 2023

They find two stained glass windows from Notre Dame that were stolen 161 years ago… and resurfaced at auction

The “Lumière sur Patrimoine” association is dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage in Paris filed a report of theft and concealment of theft at the Paris Center Police Station on Tuesday, September 12th. The reason for this complaint is the surprising thing Discovery of the resale of two stained glass windows from Notre-Dame Cathedral that had been lost for 161 years.

According to the association, these two stained glass windows, one depicting a fiery angel measuring 39.5 cm in diameter and one depicting a turiferous angel measuring 42.5 cm in diameter, were stolen in the mid-19th century. when the cathedral was renovated. The stained glass windows date from the 13th century and were dismantled in the past for later sale.

Oddly enough, These stained glass windows resurfaced at an auction in June 2015 as part of an event organized by the renowned American auction house Sotheby’s., dedicated to “antique paintings, sculptures and drawings of the 19th century.” The stained glass windows were cataloged at the time under lot numbers 153 and 154 and were estimated at 40,000 to 60,000 euros each. However, in the end they were sold for much higher amounts, namely 111,000 and 123,000 euros (approximately 119,000 and 132,000 dollars / 2.04 and 2.26 million Mexican pesos, respectively).

The “Light on Cultural Heritage” association. stated that he did not become aware of this sale until several years later, which led to the complaint filed on Tuesday, September 12th. In search of justice, the association turned to the Local Reception and Investigation Service (SAIP).

However, the American auction house involved, Sotheby’s, clarified that the association had never contacted them before filing the complaint. The auction house agreed to cooperate with authorities in the investigation and reiterated its commitment to complying with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries in which it operates.

Sotheby’s also stated this before putting these windows up for sale in June 2015They conducted a thorough investigation and published detailed information in the auction catalog. In addition, they obtained all necessary permits from relevant authorities, including export certificates, and alerted experts and museum curators about the auction.

According to Sotheby ‘In 1862, the stained glass windows in question were dismantled by Viollet le Duc as part of the famous restoration of Notre-Dame. and then sold between 1877 and 1905 by the master glassmaker Édouard Didron. Therefore, they argue that there was no theft. In addition, they point out that similar pieces, including from the Paris Cathedral, are part of the collection of the Geneva Museum of Art and History in Switzerland.

The mystery surrounding these Notre-Dame stained glass windows raises questions about their history, their passage through the hands of different owners and the legal actions surrounding their sale and export, a mystery that only time and research can solve.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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