Customs Cops Confiscate Picasso

Newark -- A stolen Picasso cubist masterpiece has been recovered in an airport mail room here fourteen years after disappearing from the storage room at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are glad to read about the recovery of this early Picasso masterpiece.

It will be returned to the French government as soon as possible, a U.S. official has said.

The work of art titled, 'La Coiffeuse' (The Hairdresser) was sent in a FedEx parcel to the United States from Belgium this past Christmas. The overseas package was labelled as an Arts & Crafts gift whose declared valued was $37.

It was intercepted by vigilant U.S. customs officers at the airport, opened, and subsequently seized when an expert thought that it might be genuine.

The FedEx parcel was addressed from "Robert", and carried a sender's address in Belgium.

The parcel was marked "Happy Christmas" and labelled as "art craft/toy". The identity of the person the package was addressed to in the U.S. has not been released.

The 1911 Analytic Cubist work dates from Picasso's most radical period and is highly sought after by collectors worldwide. The small canvas is reported to be worth around $2 million, however a piece of this quality could escalate by up to five times this amount at auction

The monochrome composition was reported missing back in November 2001, when Pompidou officials were unable to locate it following a loan request.

"A lost treasure has been found," said Loretta Lynch, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who filed a civil suit to return the painting to France.

"The market to sell stolen antiquities in the United States is drying up," Anthony Scandiffio, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, told the New York Times.

The Picasso oil on canvas originally belonged to the Musee National d'Art Moderne collection and was last exhibited there in Munich in 1998. It was subsequently stored at the Pompidou Centre for an intended exhibition.

Today's homepage Featured Art Video recaps this amazing art recovery.