February 6, 2023

A Brazilian collector claims to have painted Van Gogh in an American museum

Posted 1/12/2023 7:22 PM / Updated 1/12/2023 7:22 PM

(Credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP)

Van Gogh’s work has become a matter of contention. A Brazilian is asking for the return of the painting, which he claims he bought in 2017 and lost for years, until it was placed in a museum in the United States, where it is on display.

Brokerarte Capital Partners, of which the sole member is Gustavo Soler, is the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in a US court. Soler buys, sells, and collects art.

The story is rocky. In May 2017, the Brazilian acquired Unliseuse de Romans (also known as romantic reader or the reader), painted by the Post-Impressionist master in 1888. In the suit, consultant France Press agencySoler claims that after he purchased the painting, a third party, whose identity he does not know, “immediately took possession of it”, without giving up his title.


Years passed, he says, without him knowing the painting’s whereabouts until he recently discovered it was on display at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) as part of Van Gogh’s Great Exhibition of America, which ends Jan. 22.

Fearing that from that date onwards, the museum would transfer the painting or hand it over to a third party, the Brazilian decided to seek the intervention of justice. A federal judge in Michigan yesterday ordered the CIA to “refrain from destroying, destroying, concealing, disposing, displacing, using or materially impairing its value.”

On January 19, three days before the exhibition ends, the court is expected to hold a hearing on the lawsuit.

The work cost $3.7 million, but it is estimated that it will currently fetch more than $5 million. It is oil on canvas depicting a young woman reading a book.

She has “very dark thick hair, a green bodice, the sleeves are the color of grape leaves, the skirt is black, the background is all yellow, shelves with books,” the artist himself describes, in one of his letters.

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