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San Diego Museum Buys El Greco, Cotan Paintings

The San Diego Museum of Art has purchased a small early painting on copper by El Greco, “The Adoration of the Shepherds” (1572-74), and a small religious painting on copper, “Saint Sebastian,” by the renowned 17th-Century Spanish still-life painter Juan Sanchez Cotan, the museum announced at a press conference Thursday.

Museum director Steven Brezzo said the museum paid “in excess of half a million dollars” for the El Greco and “under a hundred thousand” for the Sanchez Cotan. Both paintings were purchased from dealers in New York, according to the museum’s curator of European art, Nora Desloge.

Desloge said the works were paid for with acquisition funds accumulated from endowment funds and from money from the sale over the last few years of a number of “minor works” that had long been in museum vaults.

The El Greco has been installed for public view in the museum’s Mr. and Mrs. Watler Fitch Jr. Memorial Gallery of old master paintings. Museum officials said the Sanchez Cotan will not be on view for at least two months because it needs cleaning.

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