French city asks Madonna for loan of painting lost during WWI

AP - Kin Cheung

The mayor of Amiens in northern France has released a video requesting that American pop singer Madonna "loan" the city a painting from her personal collection, which resembles one lost there during World War I.

The 19th century work, Diane and Endymion by artist Jerome-Martin Langlois, is "likely" the same one "loaned by the Louvre to the Fine Art Museum in Amiens before World War I and which subsequently disappeared", Brigitte Fouré said in a video message posted on Facebook.

"Obviously, we don't dispute in any way the legal acquisition that you made of this work," Fouré added.

A 'loan' to exhibit the painting in 2028

Instead she asked the singer for a "loan" to exhibit it in 2028, when Amiens hopes to be the year's European Capital of Culture.

Lending the image would allow "the inhabitants to discover this work and enjoy it," the mayor said.

The painting's possible provenance was suggested by newspaper Le Figaro in an investigation published this month.

Sold at auction for 1.19 million euros to Madonna in 1989, an art conservator spotted the monumental work in a photo of her home published in magazine Paris Match.

'Almost certainly a copy'

Nevertheless, "it's the only evidence of the work that was lost," he added.

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