The 1911 Picasso painting “La Coiffeuse,” said to be worth about $15 million, is returned to the French government after U.S. Customs discovered the piece sent from Belgium via FedEx. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Stolen Picasso painting returned to France
They say good things come in small packages… and in one of those packages, U.S. Customs found this missing Picasso painting worth about $15 million.
Officials say “La Coiffeuse,” meaning “The Hairdresser” was stolen 14 years ago in Paris from the Centre Pompidou.
Frederic Dore, Deputy Chief of Mission for the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., explains:
(SOUNDBITE) DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, FREDERIC DORE, EMBASSY OF FRANCE:
“Reported as stolen to the French police in November 2001, the painting’s location remained unknown until it arrived in the United States in December 2014.”
During a ceremony at the embassy, the masterpiece was returned to the French government.
Acting District Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kelly Currie, explains what tipped off U.S. Customs officials in New Jersey…
(SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IN EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY KELLY CURRIE, SAYING:
“When the people sent it, they sent it with a description describing it as a handicraft worth about 30 euros. They had a notation on the shipping paperwork that it was for “Joyeaux Noel” perhaps indicating it was supposed to be a Christmas gift for someone. As it turns out, of course it was sent to a special shipping facility that had climate control that you probably wouldn’t do for a 30 euro piece of handiwork.”
U.S. authorities later transferred the painting to New York, as part of an investigation to verify the painting’s authenticity.
Now, the authentic 1911 Picasso will travel back to France where it legally belongs.