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Russia, Germany in art tussle

October 10, 2003|From Reuters

Russian and German leaders kept the art world guessing Thursday over the possible return to Germany of a Rubens painting worth nearly $100 million. It was seized as war booty in 1945.

"Tarquinius and Lucretia," taken from Germany in 1945, has been the object of intense bargaining between Russia and Germany, which wants it back.

The painting, depicting the moments before the mythical rape of Roman wife Lucretia, dates from 1610-11. Russian authorities confiscated it from a private owner in September after discovering it was for sale in Russia.

Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi said Tuesday in Frankfurt that he expected the issue to be resolved soon. But Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were reluctant to say much about the painting's fate at a news conference Thursday after they met in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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