Soviet-looted John Constable painting to auction

A John Constable painting that was stolen from a Hungarian dealer by the Soviets is to auction.

The canvas, titled Beaching a Boat, Brighton, has been a central part of the Tate's Constable collection since 1986.

John Constable Brighton
The work is a study for a larger painting

It's an oil sketch for a larger scale work titled Marine Parade and Chain Pier, Brighton (1827).

The sketch passed to Constable's daughter after he died.

It was later sold to a European dealer and made its way into the collection of Baron Ferenc Hatvany. When the second world war broke out, the baron placed the work along with a number of others into a bank vault and fled Hungary.

Soon after, a group of Red Army soldiers managed to break into the safe.

The painting became one of the many masterpieces swirling around the black market at the end of the war.

Hatvany's descendants have made a claim that was backed up by the UK Spoliation Advisory Panel - an organisation set up to return items looted during the war to their rightful owners.

This is the first time the Tate has had to return a looted painting.

The piece will be auctioned at Christie's on December 8, with a valuation of £500,000-800,000 ($621,500-994,400).

You can take a look at all our art and photography memorabilia for sale here.

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