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france 24 Culture

Stolen 'La Coiffeuse' Picasso to be returned to France

© US Department of Justice /AFP | Picasso's cubist "La Coiffeuse", worth about $15 million, was stolen in 2001.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-08-13

"La Coiffeuse", a cubist work by Pablo Picasso worth about $15 million, will be returned to France via the French embassy, US officials said on Wednesday. The painting, whose name means "The Hairdresser", was stolen 14 years ago in Paris.

The 1911 cubist oil painting was smuggled out of a storeroom of the Georges Pompidou centre in 2001, The New York Times reported.

The painting, which had been bequeathed to the French government, was last exhibited in Munich in 1998 before being returned to Paris and stored at the Centre Pompidou, the paper said.

Officials at a shipping facility discovered the 33x46 centimetre (13x18 inch) painting wrapped in parcel paper when the package was inspected upon its arrival in Newark, New Jersey, in the weeks before Christmas last year. It had been sent from Belgium via the FedEx shipping company by someone who declared that the package contained an “art craft/toy” valued at €30 ($37) and with shipping documents reading "Joyeux Noël" (Merry Christmas).

US security authorities later transferred the painting to New York pending an investigation.

French art experts travelled to New York in January to verify the authenticity of the work using photographs and historical records, eventually concluding that it was Picasso's “La Coiffeuse”.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the painting would be returned via the French embassy in Washington, DC.

Another Picasso worth more than €25 million that was seized from a yacht off the French island of Corsica earlier this month was transferred to a Madrid museum on Tuesday.

That painting, which was considered a national treasure by Spanish authorities who had banned it from being exported, was seized by French customs at the end of July.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2015-08-13

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