FRENCH EMBASSY-FRENCH CUSTOMS/AFP/Getty Images “La Coiffeuse“, a cubist work by Picasso worth $15 million, is headed home to Paris, U.S. immigration officials said.
Once back in the French capital, the diplomat said, it will “come back to life” and return to public view after careful restoration “thanks to this outstanding Franco-American customs cooperation”.
“We’re so glad that it’s going to be shown to the world again”, the agency’s director, Sarah Saldana, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
It’s the fourth time in four years that the U.S.is returning a stolen painting to France, according to the embassy.
Two experts from the Paris museum authenticated the painting in January.
It had last been publicly displayed in Munich, Germany in 1998 – and no one is clear on where it has been since. It was discovered missing from the storeroom of the modern art Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2001.
Dore said it was the fourth piece of art that the US authorities have returned to France since 2011.
On July 31, French custom agents seized the painting from a British-flagged yacht off Corsica, halting what they said was an attempt to export it to Switzerland.
The first, valued at $27 million, was transferred this week to Madrid’s Reina’s Sofia Museum which houses Picasso’s large anti-war masterpiece “Guernica”, a police statement said. That’s where it was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and turned over to Homeland Security following December shipment from Belgium to the United States.
The Picasso masterpieces, “Head of a Young Woman”, and “La Coiffeuse” (The Hairdresser), are considered national treasures of Spain and France, respectively.