Here’s an excerpt from an article by the Associated Press on the surprising cancellation of Sotheby’s monumental auction:
MOSCOW — The prized collection of art collected by the renowned late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich is being returned to Russia, a top cultural official said, after a politically connected billionaire tycoon paid a premium for the collection in a surprise deal announced on the eve of its auction. […]
Federal Culture Agency chief Mikhail Shvydkoi told a news conference that the government agency presented Sotheby’s with guarantees that “the transaction would be in the interest of the Russian Federation.”
He did not elaborate on the guarantees, but said that the Russian government itself did not try to buy the collection because it did not have sufficient funds. “The culture ministry, and I personally, began to appeal to business representatives to buy the collection in its entirety.”
Link to full article at the International Herald Tribune site.