A picture of Degas stolen in 2009, found in a bus near Paris Automatic translate
PARIS. A little over eight years ago, French investigators were shocked by the circumstances of how a small painting by the impressionist Edgar Degas was stolen from a museum in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille. The picture depicts the choristers from the final act of the opera Don Giovanni.
The colorful pastel of 1877, depicting singers on a theatrical stage, was unscrewed from the wall, but there were no signs of hacking. The police briefly detained the night watchman, but then released him.
Years passed. A painting entitled "The Chorus Singers", which was estimated at about $ 1 million, was never found.
On February 16, a picture was found by French customs officers during a standard inspection of the luggage compartment of a bus at a stop in Ferriere-en-Brie, about 18 miles east of Paris.
The officers found the signed painting in the suitcase, but none of the passengers on the bus recognized it as their property. A customs spokesman said on Friday that the search was not the result of a special request and that after the discovery of the picture, the authorities did not know if the work was genuine. Intercity bus lines are often checked because they are used by criminal networks to transfer drugs. A customs spokeswoman said there had not yet been an additional interrogation of bus passengers, but the investigation would continue.
Francoise Nissen, Minister of Culture of France, said in a statement that “this successful discovery of a precious work of art” returned to us what was “a great loss to the French Impressionist heritage”.
In December 2009, a painting from the Orsay Museum was on display at the Cantini Museum in Marseille. At that time, it was estimated at 800,000 euros. Specialists at the Orsay Museum have already confirmed its authenticity.
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