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Morozov masterpieces safely return to Russia, amid shipping delays due to Ukrainian war

Five convoys of six trucks were required to transport a total of 200 valuable works as the war in Ukraine restricted shipping

The masterpieces of the Morozov collection, which had recently been on display at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, have been safely returned to Russia, according to The Art Newspaper.

The exhibition which was featured in The Morozov Collection: Icon of Modern Art, showcased around 200 masterpieces which were collected during the early 1900s by the Russian textile magnates Mikhail and Ivan Morozov. The collection includes iconic pieces created by some of arts most eminent figures such as: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso.

Many of the pieces on display were loaned by the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, but several also came from private collections.

The invasion of Ukraine presented a host of logistical and diplomatic challenges to France in protecting the collection during the voyage. As flights between Russia and Europe were suspended. In an attempt to ensure the collection’s protection during the course of their return, France decided on the use of five convoys of six trucks, all of which were registered in Germany, for the journey.

Negotiations between the ministry of foreign affairs and the European Commissions were conducted in liaison with the Louis Vuitton Foundation- headed by LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault. France also made sure that the collections were not classified as “luxury goods”, and therefore subject to seizure.

However, despite the numerous efforts made a total of three portraits belonging to the Morozov Collection have now been retained in France, including the portrait of Margarita Morozova which belongs to the Dnipropetrovsk Museum based in Ukraine. The Foundation Louis Vuitton has agreed to hold on to it until they can ensure it can be safely returned.

In addition to this, on the April 9th , France also decided to seize a self-portrait by Pyotr Konchalovsky, owned by the sanctioned Russian oligarch Petr Aven, during the duration of which he is being targeted by an asset freeze. Another Portrait closely associated with Vladimir Putin; a portrait of Timofei Morozov by Valentin Serov from the collection of Moshe Kantor was also retained.