Confusion and dismay broke out in the Canadian press yesterday as the nation’s foreign minister was chastised for considering a sale of a few pieces of his department’s art work to museums or other agencies as a cost-cutting measure. The minister now says there are no plans for a sale:
Among the paintings identified in the documents are:
- A Jean Paul Riopelle oil painting valued at $300,000. It has apparently hung in Washington, D.C. since the 1950s.
- Two works by Paul-Emile Borduas, an untitled piece and a 1953 work entitled “La Cathedral enguirlandee,” which hung in the embassy in Tunisia.
- A painting by landscape artist Clarence Alphonse Gagnon, valued at $500,000.
The documents show that 494 so-called “high value” pieces owned by the department have a market value of about $18.7 million. The entire collection, which includes donated pieces that will not be sold, has a value of about $35 million.