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New York museum says no info that its Malevich painting was stolen from Russia

A Russian museum official earlier suggested that at a certain point in time the painting was stolen from a Russian museum and replaced with a fake

NEW YORK, November 9. /TASS/. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has no information suggesting that one of paintings from its collection, Samovar by Kazimir Malevich, could earlier be stolen from Russia, MoMA Director of Communications and Public Affairs Amanda Hicks told TASS.

"I've also seen the TASS story that ran a little earlier this afternoon," she said. "We invite and welcome new information about Malevich's Samovar (1913). The Museum has no information now suggesting any history of theft, and had none in 1983 when the painting was given to the collection."

According to information on the museum’s website, ‘Samovar’ was kept by Kazimir Malevich at least until 1920, then bought by the Moscow-based Museum Bureau of the Commissariat of Enlightenment, had been on deposit at the Museum of Artistic Culture in Vitebsk (Belarus) and then transferred to the Museum at Rostov-Yaroslavsky in 1922. In 1972, it was sold through Sotheby's, five years later it was bought by the McCrory Corporation. The Museum of Modern Art acquired the painting in 1983.

The Rostov Kremlin state museum in Rostov Veliky, Russia’s Yaroslavl region, seeks to return two original paintings by Russian avant-garde artists Kazimir Malevich and Lyubov Popova from the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki.

At a certain point in time, the paintings were stolen from the Russian museum preserve and replaced with fakes, Sergey Sazonov, deputy director general of the Rostov Kremlin, told TASS on Thursday.

He was referring to Samovar by Kazimir Malevich and Non-Objective Composition by Lyubov Popova. Experts said last year that these paintings on display at the Rostov Kremlin were the copies painted in the second half of the 20th century. The museum informed the Russian Ministry of Culture and filed a report with the regional office of the Russian Interior Ministry.