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Art treasure trove goes to auction

paintingA large treasure trove of books, paintings, drawings, and prints from some of the premier 20th century artists is slated to be auctioned off after sitting in storage and kept from the public eye for about seventy years.

The works are from Derain, Cezanne, Picasso, Renoir, and Gauguin and are billed as the ‘Tresors du Coffre Vollard.’  Together they compile a timeline from some of the key composers of modern art and outline the previous century’s most historical moments.

Altogether there are 140 works, which were placed in a Paris safety deposit box in 1939 and stayed there for forty years.  However, now they will soon go up for sale at the Sotheby’s in London and Paris.

Vice chairman of Sotheby’s modern art and impressionist department, Helena Newman, stated that the sale is like exploring a lost world as she only saw the collection for the first time just a couple of weeks ago.  Newman continued to say that it was like taking a step back in time because a great many of the works had not actually been viewed since 1939.

The collection at one point belonged to the imminent art dealer Ambroise Vollard who was killed in 1939 in a car crash.  A young Jew was in charge of his works and as the Nazis got closer he decided to put 140 of the works into a bank vault.

In 1942 the young man was killed at the Sajmiste concentration camp and the vault remained unopened due to the fact that French law mandates forty years must pass before the bank can sell the pieces to cover storage fees.

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