Two thirteenth-century windows attributed to the Dominican priory in Strasbourg have been acquired by the French state following their auction by Sotheby’s in Paris on 20 April 2012. The Betrayal [Fig. 1] sold for 156,750 EUR (including buyer’s premium), and the Crucifixion [Fig. 2] for 228,750 EUR (including the buyer’s premium). The windows were discussed in our last issue; see Vidimus 59.
French law allows the state to use a right of pre-emption on works of art or private documents of national importance. This means that the state substitutes itself for the last bidder and becomes the buyer. In such a case, a representative of the French State announces the exercise of the pre-emption right immediately after the lot has been sold, and this declaration is recorded in the official sale record. The French state then has fifteen days to confirm the pre-emption decision.