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Matisse found 25 years after theft

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 9, 2013

LONDON – An Henri Matisse painting stolen in 1987 from a Swedish museum by a thief wielding a sledgehammer has been recovered, an art specialist and a dealer said Tuesday.

The Art Loss Register, which tracks stolen, missing and looted art, says “Le Jardin” was found when a British dealer checked the picture against the group’s database before selling it.

Dealer Charles Roberts, who runs Charles Fine Art in southern England, said he was shocked to discover the painting was stolen.

“It’s not something that happens every day,” Roberts said. “I’m glad I found out now rather than later.”

Roberts said the current Polish owner, whom he did not name, had bought the Impressionist artwork in good faith 20 years ago.

Christopher Marinello, a lawyer working with the London-based Art Loss Register, said the 1920 painting, valued at about $1 million, would be returned to Stockholm’s Moderna Museet. It was snatched from the gallery during a raid in May 1987.

The museum’s director, Daniel Birnbaum, said it was “extremely gratifying that the painting has surfaced after so long.”


 

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