Catherine Hickey tells the story of the missing Goulandris art collection that relatives of the deceased owners claim was sold for a tiny sum. Now one of the heirs Aspasia Zaimis, aided by an art dealer, is trying to unravel the mystery of the missine works which art historian Nicholas Fox Weber says were the “the very quintessence” of each artist.
The case centers around 83 works, a third of the collection, that were supposedly sold for $31m. Others value that third at more than three-quarters of a billion dollars, giving the entire collection the potential value of more than $2bn:
Among the artworks in the list of 83 attached to the disputed sales contract are 11 by Picasso, three by Braque, five Cezanne paintings, three by Marc Chagall, two by Degas, two Gauguins, two Max Ernsts, two Manets, two Miros, two Monets, three Renoirs, two Jackson Pollock oils, a Matisse, a Klee and a Kandinsky, two people familiar with the document said.
An evaluation of a third of the works by Armand Bartos, Jr. Fine Art Inc., put their worth at $781.4 million. That evaluation includes a Van Gogh painting of olive pickers which Bartos said could alone be worth $120 million, and a Cezanne self-portrait that he valued at $60 million. […]
“I am determined to find the paintings which were in the Gstaad home before my aunt’s death,” Zaimis said by phone from Greece. “I believe with all my heart that the paintings were part of my inheritance.” […] The case now winding through a Lausanne court is examining whether a sale contract dated 1985 for 83 masterpieces — at a price far below their value — is genuine, the people said.
“I do not believe that Basil sold his collection,” Zaimis said. “They were so proud of it. I cannot imagine he would have sold it for this price.”