expertmus (expertmus) wrote in rublev_museum,

The icons from Andrey Rublev's museum were packed up to be shipped back to Russi



CLINTON — A diplomatic white flag, of sorts, is being waved at Clinton's Museum of Russian Icons.

The icons, at the center of a diplomatic standoff over Russian art on loan in the United States, were packed up Monday, 28th of March 2011, to be shipped back to Russia.

Last Wednesday after receiving a letter from Andrey Busygin, deputy minister of culture of the Russian Federation, museum founder Gordon Lankton agreed to return a traveling museum to Russia. The display of 37 Russian icons and other artifacts, which opened to much fanfare in October, was from the Andrey Rublev Museum, in Moscow. It will be packed and returned to Russia, by way of New York, as soon as Rubelv museum officials return to Clinton to pack the pieces.

A director of the Rublev museum was in Clinton last week, but returned to Russia Tuesday, empty handed, after Clinton museum officials requested a review of the request to return the pieces.

Last Monday, museum officials met with a representative of the Russian Embassy legal department and a representative of the consulate in New York, Museum Director Kent Russell said. The representatives submitted to the museum a request to return the icons and the museum officials submitted a formal letter asking that the decision be reconsidered. Busygin sent a response, saying it was needed to “guarantee safety of our cultural values, which could be attached as a judicial guarantee.”

“While the Russian Federation officials gave no reason for the order, we subsequently determined it was the result of a legal ruling that had nothing to do with our museum or our contract with the Andrey Rublev,” according to a press release sent by museum officials earlier in the week. “Museum trustees and staff remain shocked regarding this turn of events, mostly because our very mission is ‘to enhance relations between Russia and the United States through the medium of ancient Russian art, especially Russian icons, a distinct artistic tradition that has captured the interest and imagination of American cultural society.' ”

The “Treasures From Moscow” exhibition was scheduled to remain in Clinton through July 25.

The exhibit is stuck in a situation called “force majeure,” Lankton explained last week, which means a contract dispute cannot be resolved.

“This is completely unrelated to anything said or done by the Museum of Russian Icons,” Lankton added.

In his letter, Busygin wrote that “this measure is related to the decision of a U.S. court in the case concerning the claim of the Agudas Chasidei Chabad religious organization to the Schneerson Library, which is the property of the Russian Federation.” The claim is over a collection of 12,000 Jewish books which are in Russia, but which the Chabad group claims belong to them.

“Recently, the attorneys of this organization have declared their intention to request the attachment of the property of the Russian Federation situated on the territory of the United States in order to secure the execution of the U.S. court decision,” the letter continues.

“In these circumstances, we are obliged to take appropriate measures to guarantee safety of icons from the collection of the Andrey Rublev Central Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art,” according to Busygin's letter. “We highly appreciate your activities aimed at presenting masterpieces of the ancient Russian art to the U.S. public and developing cultural ties between the United States and Russia.”

Since the announcement that the Russian government ordered the return of icons, several hundred people viewed the exhibit at the museum. Tour groups from around the region are scheduled to view the exhibit.

This is the second major Russian traveling exhibit that has come to Clinton. Local business owners, including restaurants, have credited the tourists brought in by these shows with helping their businesses survive a difficult economic stretch.

At a Wachusett Chamber of Commerce breakfast last Wednesday morning, at which Lankton was the guest speaker, he said people can view the Rublev pieces until the Russian officials come to pack it up, which depending on how long that takes, could be as early as this weekend.

“This collection is the best exhibition that has ever been to the United States and could be the best ever,” Lankton said, in urging those who wanted to see them to visit the museum before the weekend.

The 450 icons in the museum's permanent collection are not affected by the Russian decision.

“Russians tell us it is the best collection (of Russian icons) in the world outside Russia,” Lankton told last Wednesday's crowd.

A collection of Lankton's icons, which have never been on display before, will likely go up as soon as the Rublev pieces are shipped back to Russia. These 11 icons were purchased by Lankton in Russia many years ago, but were only allowed to be shipped out of the country last fall.


Tags: СМИ о ЦМиАР, Спасти Музей имени Андрея Рублева, расследование

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