Last updated: 29 May, 2012

Pollock’s $250 million painting back in Iranian museum

A multi-million-dollar painting by US artist Jackson Pollock was back in Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Arts on Tuesday after a row with Iran’s customs service over unpaid debt was resolved, the state IRNA news agency reported.

Iran’s customs service had seized the work, “Mural on Indian Red Ground” (1950), on May 11 as it was returning from an exhibition in Japan. The service said it was being held over money owed to it by the ministry of culture, which runs the museum.

“After negotiations, this work was returned to the museum intact,” Ali Asghar Amirnia, the head of visual arts department of the culture ministry was quoted as saying by IRNA.

The painting had an estimated value of $250 million and is considered one of the prize pieces in the Tehran museum, which also features works by Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore.

Most of the collection was built up by Iran’s former queen Farah Pahlavi, who deployed a team of experts to tour Western auctions and snap up prestige paintings and sculptures to boost her country’s cultural profile.