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Stolen Matisse turns up in Britain after 25 years

Published on Jan 8, 2013 6:27 AM
A handout picture from the Art Loss Register received on January 7, 2012 shows Christopher Marinello, Executive Director and General Council of the The Art Loss Register, holding "Le Jardin", a Matisse painting that was stolen 25 years ago after it was retrieved in London on January 3, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - A Matisse painting stolen 25 years ago from the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm has turned up in Britain, where a dealer had hoped to sell it on behalf of an elderly Polish client, it emerged on Monday.

Henri Matisse's Le Jardin, an oil on canvas from 1920 which is now worth about US$1 million (S$1.2 million), was found when art dealer Charles Roberts ran it through a global database of stolen art - standard practice before a sale.

The team at the Art Loss Register quickly identified the painting as the one stolen from the Swedish museum on May 11, 1987, when a burglar broke in with a sledgehammer and made off with the artwork in the early hours of the morning.

Several attempts were made to ransom the painting or sell it back to the museum for a huge sum, according to reports at the time, but the museum refused, and the trail went cold - until last month.

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