One hour TV documentary, narrated by Elliott Gould, about one of the most talked-about art collectors of the twentieth century.
In 2010, Sotheby’s held a sale in Paris and London of some 140 works of art by the world’s most famous modern painters. The auction caused an enormous stir, in part because the collection was said to have been owned by the legendary Parisian art dealer, Ambroise Vollard. And without question, the most exciting aspect of this sale was that none of the artworks had been seen by the public for 70 years. When the final gavel came down, the auction had raised some $30,000,000 for the heirs of Ambroise Vollard, including an all-time record price for a painting by Fauvist artist André Derain.
But through all the hype and clamor of the sale, one name was rarely mentioned: that of Erich Slomovic, the man who had put the artworks in the bank vault in the first place — back in 1940, just two months before the Nazis marched into Paris. The rest of the art then in Erich’s possession — some 429 paintings, drawings, prints, ceramics and statues — accompanied him as he fled France for his native Yugoslavia, where they arrived safe and sound.
Tragically, the Nazis caught up with Erich a couple of years later and killed him, along with his father and brother. But they never found his art. Today most of it lies hidden in the basement of the National Museum of Serbia, while heirs and pseudo-heirs and governments argue over who should be its lawful owner.
The Mysterious Mr. Slomovic traces Erich’s short but remarkable life, from his teenage forays into art collecting to his unexpected success in prewar Paris to his triumphant exhibition in Zagreb — followed by his death at the hands of the Nazis and the subsequent character assassination which has continued unabated since his murder by those who need to discredit him in order to lay claim to his art collection.
Employing eyewitness testimony, together with interviews with historians and art historians, the filmmakers have traveled through Serbia, Croatia, France, England and America to bring Erich’s story to the screen.
Duration: 56 minutes