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Leonardo da Vinci, Lady with an Ermine, 1490.

Poland Purchases Czartoryski Family Art Collection for a Fraction of Its Value

The deputy prime minister of Poland, Piotr Glinski, signed an agreement to buy the private Czartoryski family art collection for $105 million in Warsaw on Thursday, December 29, ensuring that important works, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, 1489–90, will remain in Poland, Joanna Berendt of the New York Times reports.

Founded by Princess Izabela Czartoryska in 1802, the collection, with more than three hundred thousand works, is valued at $2 billion. Glinski acknowledged that the $105 million that the state paid for it is “way below the market price” and considers the acquisition a donation. The sale was negotiated by Glinski and Izabela’s descendant Prince Adam Karol Czartoryski—a move that resulted in the resignation of the Czartoryski Foundation’s board members, who claim they were not consulted about the transaction. Adam Karol said that he was “basically following in the footsteps of my ancestors, who always wanted to serve the Polish nation.”

Among the works in the collection are Rembrandt’s Landscape with the Good Samaritan, 1638, and sketches by Rembrandt, Auguste Renoir, and Albrecht Dürer. The artworks, which are housed in the National Museum in Krakow and the Wawel Royal Castle in Krakow, will remain where they are.

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