Rostropovich art collection sold to Russian billionaire

September 18, 2007 04:24

Billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov has bought an art collection belonging to the late Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich for substantially more than 20 million pounds (US$40 million), Sotheby's auction house said. Usmanov, one of Russia's richest men, said he had bought the trove of Russian artworks in order to return them to their homeland. "When I knew that this collection would be sold at auction, I felt the need to try to preserve the collection in its entirety," Usmanov told Russian state-run television. "The second goal, which is even more important, is to return (the collection) to the country that the art belongs to - Russia," he said. Usmanov said he intended to hand the collection over to the state. An auction of the collection, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in London, was canceled.

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