La Coiffeuse (1911) by Pablo Picasso from his cubist period was stolen from the archives of Paris's Centre Georges Pompidou Museum back in 2001. It was listed on Interpol’s Stolen Art Database and thought lost until December 2014, when it was seized by American customs agents in Newark, New Jersey. The painting was discovered in a parcel sent from Belgium to Queens, New York, labeled as “art craft."
The package was shipped as a $37 Christmas gift, addressed to a climate-controlled warehouse, raising suspicions among the customs officials who opened it and discovered the $15 million painting inside. The artwork was turned over to the French government this past week, and will need some restoration work before being put public display in Paris.
The last time the painting was on display was in 1998 in Munich, after which it was returned to storage in the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The painting was thought to be safely in storage until it was requested for loan in 2001, and was unable to be found.
As of the time this article was written, there has been no further information released about the whereabouts of the painting after it was stolen, or who the perpetrators are. The investigation remains open and ongoing.
- Clifford, Stephanie. "Stolen Picasso Work Is Seized in Newark," The New York Times. February 26th, 2015.
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