'Toy' Shipped From Belgium Actually a Lost Picasso

Painting was reported stolen from Paris museum in 2001
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2015 11:18 AM CST
'Toy' Shipped From Belgium Actually a Lost Picasso
This undated photo provided by the United States Department of Justice, shows a cubist painting entitled “The Hairdresser” by Pablo Picasso.   (AP Photo/U.S Department of Justice)

A Picasso painting that was found to have vanished from a Paris museum more than a decade ago has turned up—in the US, in a package shipped from Belgium. Its papers identified it as a $37 "art craft/toy" and also included the line "Joyeux Noel," or Merry Christmas, the New York Times reports. A man named "Robert" attempted to send the package to a climate-controlled warehouse in Queens, New York, in December, but custom officials at the Port of Newark seized what turned out to be Picasso's 1911 La Coiffeuse (The Hairdresser). French museum officials traveled to New York last month and confirmed the find is indeed the missing Picasso work, which the Centre Georges Pompidou realized was missing from its storerooms in 2001 following a loan request; it was then valued at more than $2.5 million.

Court documents don't specify whether the sender or would-be recipient have been identified, NBC News reports, but "a lost treasure has been found," US attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. She filed a civil complaint yesterday that will have the painting returned to France. The Pompidou's director, who called the painting's rediscovery a "true comfort," hopes the painting can go on display at the museum as early as May, the AP reports. (Another Picasso work was stolen days before this one was found.)

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