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    SAMARA PAINTING AUTHENTICATED AS A MALEVICH

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    SAMARA, JANUARY 23, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Natalia Bayeva) - The Samara Fine Arts Museum, in central Russia, has been holding "In a Grand Hotel" for seventy-five years now. Yet, it is only now that experts have been finally able to authenticate the 1913 painting as a Kasimir Malevich work, Museum Director Anneta Bass told reporters Friday.

    The Samara Museum got the picture from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery in 1929. Back then, it was identified as a work by an independent painter, presumably affiliated with the Vitebsk school.

    It is by sheer chance that the picture, blacklisted by the Soviet authorities, has survived to this day, Baas said. Museum workers put themselves at risk by hiding it in their depositories, and it even underwent clandestine restoration at some point.

    In the late 1980s, a group of art critics indicated that a celebrated Russian painter may be the painting's author, tentatively ascribing it to Ivan Klyun. Modern technical advances have now enabled Tretyakov Gallery experts to establish the true authorship.

    In his recent letter to the Samara Museum, Henry Greenfield, an authoritative Malevich specialist from the United Kingdom, confirms the work's authenticity, highlighting its stylistic similarities with at least three other paintings by the famous abstractionist. Greenfield claims the picture is part of Malevich's series devoted to the Metropole Hotel, in Moscow.

    The newly discovered Malevich is on permanent display at the Russian Avant-Garde section of the Samara Museum. This next spring, it will travel to Monaco as part of a visiting exhibition.

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