Reports are emerging of "dozens of" paintings stuck in Seoul, as a result of Western sanctions limiting flights out of the country.
The works are thought to have been part of a major exhibition, Kandinsky, Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde: Revolutionary Art (which ran from December 2021 until last week) at the Sejong Museum of Art, based in the Sejong Centre for Performing Arts, in Seoul.
The show displayed a total 75 pieces by around 50 renowned artists and included Kandinsky’s Improvisations, Mikhail Larionov’s Venus and pieces by Natalia Goncharova and Alexander Rodchenko.
According to reports from Agence France-Presse, organisers have claimed that a large proportion of the exhibits are now "stuck" with at least four Russian institutions thought to have loaned works, including the Nizhny Novgorod State Art Museum and the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts.
“We indeed have to rethink logistics and are discussing the details of the contract,” says Nikita Korytin, the director of the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts. He, however, denies that there are any "extreme difficulties", adding that “there's really always a way”.
The Sejong Museum of Art did not respond to our request for comment.
The news comes days after Russia’s ambassador to France, Alexei Mechkov, publicly announced that disruption to travel could "complicate the return" of works from the Morozov Collection, including pieces by Picasso, Cezanne and Gaugin, which were (until recently) on display at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
While there have been international claims of artworks being "seized"— namely the three shipments containing artworks detained by Finnish customs earlier this month, amidst concerns over sanctions breaches—major loans of artworks between institutions are widely considered "exempt from seizure" under clauses within loan agreements (although this can exclude loans from private individuals).