for Scotland on Sunday, 31 March 1996
A painting by Maruma, the controversial laird of Eigg, was put up for auction in a musty basement last week to pay off his debts. But the artist, who is famous for not subjecting his large splurges of colour to the indignity of public sale, survived with his reputation intact. Not a single bid was made for his painting.
The first the public knew of the unprecedented opportunity to purchase a Maruma masterpiece was a classified advertisement in the Friday morning edition of the Stuttgarter Zeitung, a German newspaper. The advert, which was inserted by a bailiff acting for the court in Stuttgart, gave notice that a "fire painting" by Marlin Eckhard Maruma was being compulsorily auctioned for the recovery of debt.
Maruma, who bought the island of Eigg for £1.5 million last year, owes £20,000 (44,000 deutschmarks) to 20 creditors in Stuttgart where he lives. In lieu of the debt, he gave the bailiff a framed copy of one of his paintings, which he composes by setting fire to the paint on a fire-proof canvas.