At the London art auctioneers Christie's today (Friday) the painting "Le Rixe des Musicians" (The Beggars' Brawl) by French painter Georges de la Tour, was sold for nearly 381,000 pounds sterling (951,500 dollars).
GV ZOOM INTO CU Auctioneer taking bids (280,000) painting sold for GBP380,000.
CUs Buyer speaking(SOUND)
BUYER: "He was a very expressive artist and I think people generally have come to recognise in the last couple of decades, specially this last year because of the exposition in Paris, that he was a very important artist, despite the fact that he was working in a part of France where he didn't become terribly famous. And he's such an individual that his pictures have an attraction for anybody who gets a chance to see fine pieces that he did."
REPORTER: "Is he more important than that? I mean, is he alongside the Grand Masters, or is he lesser important than them?"
BUYER: "I wouldn't rank him among the very most important artists, no. He wasn't the sort of artist that influenced lots of others, um, he's just a very good artist, um, his fame was local at the time, in the seventeenth century."
REPORTER: "There's a bit of contention as to whether this actual painting should leave the country--presumably you want to take it back to the States?"
BUYER: "I'd like to very much, of course."
REPORTER: "But you think you will be able to?"
BUYER: "No, frankly I expect the national Gallery to stop me--I would expect them to. I wouldn't blame them if they did."
Initials BB/0309 DW/LD/BB/0325
A buyer from the Getty Museum spoke to a BBC reporter:
NOTE TO EDITORS: We draw your attention to our Production Number 15061/72: U.K.--TITIAN, RUBENS & LA TOUR PAINTINGS TO BE AUCTIONED AT CHRISTIE'S, serviced on Wednesday, December 6th, which also refers.
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Background: At the London art auctioneers Christie's today (Friday) the painting "Le Rixe des Musicians" (The Beggars' Brawl) by French painter Georges de la Tour, was sold for nearly 381,000 pounds sterling (951,500 dollars). It was bought by the J. Paul Getty Museum of California. But even before the biding had stopped, people were saying that it might not be allowed to leave Britain.
The painting, which depicts a group of street musicians and beggars brawling, is 37 by 55 1/2 inches (94 by 141 centimetres). It was originally thought to have been painted by the Italian Artist Caravaggio (who died in 1543). La Tour, who was born in Lorraine on March 19, 1593, was known in his lifetime--but, after his death in 1652, he was almost totally forgotten until well into the 20th Century. His pictures accentuate night scenes and candlelight, and his style is realist and simple--almost without mannerisms. It is probably this calm, straightforward interpretation which has made him most difficult to recognise.
Most of his works are in French museums, some are also to be found in Berlin and at the Metropolitan in New York (where is one of his most famous works, "The Fortune Teller").