Authorities seized a priceless Picasso painting stolen from a French museum when someone tried to smuggle it into the US, shipping it in a package that labelled it as a cheap $37 Christmas gift to avoid detection.
Painted by the legendary artist in 1911, “La Coiffeuse” — or “The Hairdresser” in English — the cubist work was reported pilfered from a Paris museum storage room in 2001 and had been missing until it suddenly turned up at the Port of Newark in December in suspicious packaging, Brooklyn federal prosecutors announced Thursday. The oil-on-canvas piece was initially bequeathed to the National Museums of France in 1966 by its former head, George Salles, and placed in the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris.
“La Coiffeuse” was last publicly exhibited in Germany as a loan to the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung before it was returned to France and placed in a storage area of the famed Centre George Pompidou. It was valued at $2.5 million in 2001, but is believed to be worth much more now. Via New York Post.