Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 18
For the first time in 11 years, an auction house has removed heritage items of the City Beautiful that were to go under the hammer in Luxembourg today.
The website, www.luxauction.com, has withdrawn items numbering from 71 to 76, which were identified as heritage furniture of Chandigarh, designed by Pierre Jeanneret. They had been put under the category “Succession De MME L Et À Divers Fine Art Auction – Design”.
Ajay Jagga, a member of the UT’s Heritage Items Protection Panel, had red flagged city’s heritage items in an email sent to the Minister of Culture, Luxembourg, India’s External Affairs Minister and the Indian diplomat to Luxembourg/Berlin on September 13. He had asked for the heritage items to be returned to the City Beautiful, citing that these might have been smuggled out of the country. The estimated price of these six items was pegged between Rs52.55 Lakh and Rs64.71 lakh by the auction house.
In response, a legal representative of the Luxembourg’s Culture Ministry, Chris Backes, wrote to Jagga, seeking details of the six items and documents that proved that the heritage items were illegally taken from India. To this, Jagga replied with a series of questions, asking for the sale and purchase invoice, visa details of buyers who brought the furniture, if the purchase was in accordance with India’s commercial laws and the custom clearance invoice of the six pieces of furniture items on display for the auction.
Soon after, the series of Chandigarh’s heritage items was removed from the official website of the auction.
Jagga said: “This is for the first time in 11 years of my journey of tracking sale and purchase of heritage furniture of the city that an auction house withdrew the heritage items on display. It’s a big win for all those who want to protect the city’s heritage. Quick action from the Ministry of Culture in Luxembourg is commendable.”
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