Soviet and Russian historian dies leaving paintings worth $2 billion to Putin

Nina Moleva's collection of paintings evaluated at $2 billion

Soviet and Russian writer, historian, and art critic Nina Moleva died at the age of 99.

She passed away on February 11th, the press service of the Ministry of Culture said.

Nina Moleva was a member of the Writers' Union and the Artists' Union, Doctor of History and Candidate of Art Sciences, professor. She published a series of monographs dedicated to Russian painters, she also penned research works on the history of Russian and foreign art, books on ancient Russian and Moscow architecture. Some of her works have been translated into European languages.

After the death of her husband, avant-garde artist Ely Bielutin, Moleva inherited a collection of about 200 paintings. Among them are sketches and finished works by Michelangelo, Rubens, Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Donatello, El Greco, Rembrandt, Velazquez.

Experts from French auction house Hotel Drouot estimated the starting price of the collection at $400 million. The final price of Nina Moleva's collection of paintings may reach two billion dollars.

However, due to the fact that throughout the 20th century the collection was inaccessible for scientific research, it was impossible to establish the authenticity of the paintings. In 2019, the head of the painting department at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Larisa Kashuk, said that many works from the collection were exhibited in museums. In addition, she doubted that Moleva's apartment could physically have enough space to store so many paintings.

In 2013, Moleva bequeathed her collection to President Vladimir Putin as a legal representative of Russia.

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Author`s name Pavel Morozov
Editor Dmitry Sudakov