Stolen $3 Million Matisse Painting Recovered in Sting at Loews Hotel in South Beach
The 1925 painting, titled Odalisque in Red Pants, had been in the Venezuelan museum's collection since 1981 and had left only once when it was on loan to a museum in Spain in 1997. Sometime between that trip to Spain and the early '00s, however, someone stole the painting and replaced it with a replica.
|The original painting on the right; the fake the museum had been displaying on the left.|
"The people who knew that the piece was being circulated around the world never informed us," Salvestrini told the Mail. "The thing is, it didn't occur to anyone the piece could have been authentic."
It took them nearly a decade to find the original.
FBI agents finally tracked it down yesterday. They heard the painting was for sale and arranged a meeting between undercover officers and an unknown couple who was attempting to sell it.
The identities of the would-be sellers have not been released.
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