Van Gogh’s painting “The Novel Reader” at the DIA exhibition was stolen

As the Detroit Institute of Arts’ blockbuster “Van Gogh in America” ​​exhibit nears its January 22 closing date, a lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges a stolen painting is on display at the museum as part of the exhibit.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Detroit claims that Brazilian art collector Gustavo Soter bought “Une Liseuse De Romans” – also known as “The Novel Reader” – for $3.7 million in 2017, and Soter estimates that its value now exceeds $5 million.

An 1888 Vincent van Gogh painting titled "Une Liseuse De Romans," or "The novel reader" is part of "Van Gogh in America" exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts, photographed on Thursday, September 29, 2022. A Brazilian art collector claims in a federal lawsuit filed January 10 that he is the rightful owner of the painting.

“The plaintiff purchased the painting in 2017 and immediately transferred possession – but not title – to a third party,” the lawsuit reads. “This party escaped with the painting and the plaintiff has not been aware of it for years. Recently, however, the plaintiff learned that the painting was in the possession of the DIA, apparently on loan from a private collection. Since the Plaintiff maintains a good title to the painting and all true ownership interests in the painting, he now initiates this diversity action to recover possession of his property of him.

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