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L’affaire Wildenstein, histoire d’une spoliation

Claude Dumont-Beghi

How did one of the wealthiest art dealers in the world, Daniel Wildenstein (1917-2001), get away with declaring revenue of €780 per month, while he owned 180 paintings by Bonnard evaluated at €380 million? The Wildenstein affair was in all the front covers of newspapers, and continues to be. In this book one of the parties concerned, Claude Dumont-Beghi, the lawyer of Daniel Wildenstein’s second wife, draws up an indictment against the art dealer’s children who knowingly despoiled her client by excluding her from the inheritance. Not all the recourses have been eliminated but the tax adjustment for €600 million the French State recently ruled (1st February 2012) against the heirs will not necessarily weigh in their favor. By reading between the lines the story of this long legal battle that started in 2001 and was interrupted at the end of 2010 when the plaintiff passed away reads like a fascinating novel. We see the powerful of this world, unique paintings, and not only of modern art (for example a version of Caravaggio’s The lute player estimated at €25 million), a stable of race horses that have won a number of times the Arc de triomphe prize and a 30 000 hectare ranch in Kenya, where Out of Africa was shot. We have all the elements for a Hollywood block buster…

L’affaire Wildenstein, histoire d’une spoliation by Claude Dumont-Beghi, L’Archipel, 2012, 240 p., 18,50 €.

L’affaire Wildenstein, histoire d’une spoliation - Claude Dumont-Beghi

Review published in the newsletter #253 - from 5 April 2012 to 11 April 2012

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