Valuable canvases are being held illegally by various state agencies as the contract terms have already expired
The National Gallery of Armenia is demanding that state structures return hundreds of valuable paintings temporarily given to them by the museum. The director of the gallery, Arman Tsaturyan, claims that the paintings are being kept illegally.
The terms of 26 contracts for the provision of paintings to various government agencies has expired.
“The paintings are given for a maximum of three years. There are contracts that have expired long ago and the Ministry of Culture should have demanded them [the paintings -ed] to be returned a long time ago,” said Tsaturyan.
Armen Tsaturyan has repeatedly appealed to previous ministers of culture on the matter, but the paintings were not returned to the gallery.
The current minister of culture, Lilit Makunts, was the first to respond. She has already returned the paintings borrowed by the Ministry of Culture, and has appealed to the leaders of other agencies to follow suit. The Ministry of Culture warns that canvases must be returned immediately, otherwise law enforcement will have to decide the issue.
So far only the Ministry of Emergencies and the Prosecutor General’s Office have responded to the appeal.
The Ministry of Emergencies has the most works of art from the National Gallery, a total of 94 canvases. The most valuable pieces are in the residence of the prime minister, as well as in the government building and in the parliament building.
“There is an established procedure according to which they are there, but if a decision is made to return them, we will be happy,” says the gallery’s director.