A Brazilian art collector has claimed the Van Gogh painting ‘A Novel Reader’ which is currently on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is his and has insisted that the museum return it. On Tuesday, Gustavo Soter filed a lawsuit in a US Federal Court, claiming that ‘Une liseuse de romans’, which he has reportedly been searching for six years, is now worth $5million (£4.1 million), $2 million(£1.6 million ) more than what he bought it for in 2017.
Mr. Soter discovered that the painting is at the DIA and part of the “Van Gogh in America” exhibition that features 74 paintings from the famous Dutch artist.
The exhibition started in October and runs through until January 22.
According to Mr. Soter, when he purchased the painting, he immediately transferred possession but not the title to a third party.
However, according to the Daily Mail, in the lawsuit, he claimed that the third party “absconded with the painting, and he has been unaware of its whereabouts for years”.
The lawsuit did not reveal, however, who the third party was or why the painting was given to that particular person.
Although Mr. Soter has requested that the painting be returned to him as soon as possible, a judge has ruled that it should not be removed from the DIA.
The next hearing is scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 19.
The DIA currently has five Van Gogh paintings as part of its permanent collection.
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She confirmed that the allegedly stolen painting was not part of the DIA’s in-house collection.
According to Ms Hawthorne, the painting in question had been borrowed from another collection from the exhibition.
Bloomberg reported that the painting was donated by a private collector in Sao Paulo.
Ms Hathorne insisted that there had been no wrongdoing on the part of the DIA.
She said: “No allegation of misconduct by the DIA has been alleged, and there has been no request or order for any modification to the exhibition.
“The DIA will continue to act in accordance with all applicable laws and museum best practices.”