The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, January 21, 2018

From paintings to stones from the moon: Family of Yugoslavia's Tito await news of inheritance
A museum curator catalogues items at Belgrade's Museum of Yugoslav History, where some 70,000 belongings of communist Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito are stored. For 35 years since the death of communist Yugoslav leader Tito, tens of thousands of the extravagant strongman's belongings have been the subject of legal wrangling. This month a Serbian court is finally expected to rule on the inheritance of his huge and eclectic range of possessions, from hunting rifles and paintings to marshal uniforms and stones from the moon.

By: Katarina Subasic

BELGRADE (AFP).- For 35 years since the death of communist Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, tens of thousands of the extravagant strongman's belongings have been the subject of legal wrangling.

This month a Serbian court is finally expected to rule on the inheritance of his huge and eclectic range of possessions, from hunting rifles and paintings to marshal uniforms and even stones from the moon -- a gift from US President Richard Nixon.

During his time at the helm of socialist Yugoslavia from the end of the World War II until his death in 1980, Tito and his wife Jovanka enjoyed a lifestyle that impressed even Hollywood star Richard Burton, who visited the pair in 1971.

"They live in remarkable luxury unmatched by anything else I've seen and (I) can well believe Princess Margaret who says the whole business makes Buck House look pretty middle-class," Burton wrote in his diaries, referring to the Britain's Buckingham Palace.

But today the extent of Tito's assets to be divided up by the court remains unclear, even to relatives who await news of their inheritance: his son Misha, the four children of his late son Zarko and two of the late Jovanka's sisters.

"There is no written document in which the court establishes what is to be inherited," Svetlana Broz, one of Zarko's daughters, told AFP.

"We do not know what that will be until we receive the ruling," she said. 

When Tito died, precipitating the slow and bloody break-up of Yugoslavia, his possessions were estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

In 1985 a law declared all of his belongings state property -- a ruling that was later annulled after it was challenged by Jovanka, who died in 2013.

But a clear division between what Tito owned privately and what he used as the country's top official was never made.

Proceedings were slowed down by the 1990s Balkan wars, and some of Tito's property went to countries that emerged after Yugoslavia fell apart. His family also alleges widespread theft in the intervening years.

"Fabulously expensive watches, cars, weapons and other treasure disappeared," Jovanka's lawyer Toma Fila wrote in his memoirs.

Controversial figure
Tito is admired for driving out Nazi German occupying forces in World War II with his partisan fighters, standing up to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and founding the Non-Aligned Movement.

He made Yugoslavia one of the most prosperous communist countries, but political dissidents were jailed under his regime and critics denounce his personality cult and lavish lifestyle.

Historian Predrag J. Markovic said the initial lack of decisions from the state over Tito's possessions stemmed from concern that they would damage his communist credentials.

"It was awkward as it was ideologically unacceptable that he and Jovanka had a lot of luxury things," Markovic said.

Some 70,000 belongings are now stored in depots at Belgrade's Museum of Yugoslav History, also home to Tito and Jovanka's mausoleum.

In one of the depots, Tito's suits and blue-and-white marshal uniforms hang from the ceiling and the shelves are full of model ships and planes, paintings, clocks and rifles -- Tito was a passionate hunter.

Gifts from Stalin, royals
Among the most striking objects are an abstract ceramic statue, a gift from Soviet leader Joseph Stalin before the two leaders split in 1948, and Nixon's stones from the moon, which were delivered to Tito by astronaut Neil Armstrong in 1969.

"We have no dilemma over what to do with the official gifts as they are state property in accordance with the law," said Momo Cvijovic, who has been working in the museum collecting Tito's belongings since 1978.

"The inheritance proceedings are about his personal things... but that is a very complex and delicate problem."

Cvijovic explained it was not clear-cut whether some gifts counted as personal or official, such as a golden cigarette case Tito regularly used which was given to him by Greek or Ethiopian royalty.

Even the late leader's clothes and 250 pairs of shoes are undefined as many of them were also presents, added Cvijovic.

Awaiting the court's ruling with low expectations after so many years, Tito's heirs said they hoped to receive at least small mementoes of their famous forebear.

Svetlana Broz said she would like one of his old identity cards "and the binoculars he used in World War II as commander of the army that defeated Hitler".

Her half-brother Joska said he and his sister Zlatica had earlier asked for a ceremonial uniform and copies of his awards and decorations.

But he said they would now be happy with "anything that will remind us of him".

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

January 11, 2016

Turkey arrests 2 for 'smuggling 17th century Flemish artist Anthony Van Dyck painting'

Jenkins Johnson's Winter Salon exhibition presents recent works by Julian Opie

Exhibition of photographs of Marilyn Monroe by Douglas Kirkland & Milton Greene at Eduard Planting Gallery

From paintings to stones from the moon: Family of Yugoslavia's Tito await news of inheritance

Exhibition featuring a new group of canvases depicting scenes at night by Yutaka Sone opens at David Zwirner

Full steam ahead as Flying Scotsman, first steam locomotive to hit 100 miles an hour, back on track

"Collected through Love: The Michael Woodford Bequest" on view at Pallant House Gallery

In old Damascus, war, few toruists and economic downturn threaten Syrian handicrafts

Exhibition of new paintings and drawings by artist Toba Khedoori opens at Regen Projects

"Before & After the Cultural Revolution in Romania: 1971" at PostModernism Museum Bucharest

Forethought: Lyons Wier Gallery in New York rings in the new year with group exhibition

Latest series of paintings by Charles Christopher Hill on view at Leslie Sacks Gallery

Series of new paintings by James Marshall (Dalek) on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Mary Boone Gallery opens an exhibition curated by Piper Marshall of works by Zak Kittnick

Solo exhibitions of new work by David Armacost and Nikholis Planck open at Rachel Uffner Gallery

"Greetings From LA: 24 Frames and 50 Years" by George Porcari opens at haphazard

Exhibition at Cristin Tierney Gallery features Janet Biggs' new dual-channel work

Smithsonian announces "Latinos and Baseball" collecting initiative

303 Gallery presents a project by Sarah Meyohas

Series of re-imagined Staffordshire figures by Amy Douglas on view at Jack Hanley Gallery

Transport of the future takes many shapes at tech show

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- National Air and Space Museum releases "VR Hangar" app

2.- Inrap discovers a mikveh in the medieval Jewish quarter of Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux

3.- Wellcome Collection acquires 17th century portrait of internationally renowned and hirsute Barbara van Beck

4.- The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation names Ghislain d'Humieres to oversee its core operations

5.- LACMA exhibits for the first time two photographic series by Richard Prince

6.- Jade and gold burial suit, finest to survive ancient China, featured in Nelson-Atkins exhibition

7.- Peru recovers 79 pre-Hispanic textiles from the Museum of Gothenburg in Sweden

8.- Vincent van Gogh's 'Watermill at Kollen' on display at Het Noordbrabants Museum

9.- Saint Louis Art Museum will acquire 'Portrait of Charlotte Cram' by John Singer Sargent

10.- British Museum opens the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful