Mystery over Roerich’s stolen paintings

Two works by Russian mystic painter Nikolay Roerich, which the artist gave to India but were later smuggled out of the country, have turned up at a London auction. India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has asked Interpol to look into the matter.

The CBI has confirmed the fact that the rare paintings illegally left India, where they resided at the Premier Agriculture Institute situated at Pusa, central Delhi.

Employees at the institute learned the missing painting had been auctioned in London for some $2 million, and immediately alerted the CBI. Indian police have interrogated the institute’s staff and are now seeking Interpol’s co-operation over the murky affair. The agency suspects insiders and is tracing retired employees of the institute.

The stolen works, which depict the Himalayas, belong to a rare series by the famous Russian artist Nikolay Roerich, created during his long stay in Central Asia. Roerich came to India in 1923 and remained there until his death in 1947, having dedicated the last decades of his life to studying the culture, history and philosophy of this country and other regions of Asia.

Roerich was a Russian mystic painter, philosopher, writer, traveler and public figure who produced thousands of paintings and around 30 literary works. His artworks have entered the collections of many  well-known museums around the world.

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