Bloomberg has published an update on the battle between Yves Bouvier and Dmitri Rybolovlvev, written by Katya Kazakina and Hugo Miller. It appears that the Russian billionaire is selling off part of his collection for much less than what he paid for the Klimts, Monets, and Picassos.
In early 2015, Rybolovlev accused Yves Bouvier of overcharging him on the sale of a number of masterpieces, saying that he $500-million out of pocket. Since then, the two men have been gripped in a roller coaster of a legal battle. The billionaire now seems to have decided to put the affair behind him by selling off some of the 38 works that cost him so much.
Bloomberg explains that the oligarch has sold Otahi, a painting by Paul Gauguin, which he acquired for $120 million, for less than $50 million. He also parted with Wasserschlangen II by Gustav Klimt, which he purchased for $183.8 million, for $170 million, and Rodin’s Eternal Springtime, on which he made a $28-million loss. According to the Rybolovlev clan, the sales are further proof that Bouvier’s prices were excessive.
Rybolovlev is not stopping there. He has consigned five more works to Christie’s to be sold next week in London. These include Picasso’s Joueur de flûte et femme nue, Rodin’s Baiser, grand modèle, Gauguin’s Te Fare, Mark Rothko’s No. 1, and Magritte’s Domaine d’Arnheim. All works are up for sale at Christie’s for much less than the Russian billionaire paid for them.
As art market specialist Marion Maneker stated in Art Market Monitor, Rybolovlev could have waited for the prices to rise, as they continue to do for these kinds of modern masterpieces. Bloomberg offers several possible reasons for the sale. One is that it may be an attempt to prove that Bouvier inflated the price of the works beyond all measure and that the price paid by Rybolovlev in no way reflects the market. The sale may also have been prompted by Rybolovlev’s divorce, which is likely to cost him somewhere in the vicinity of €534 million.