FBI recovers Matisse painting stolen from Caracas museum
The painting Odalisque in Red Pants was recovered by undercover agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a hotel in Miami
Undercover agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recovered in a hotel in Miami the painting by French painter Henri Matisse Odalisque in Red Pants, which was stolen from the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art 10 years ago, said Miami-based television channel Local10.
The painting, valued at USD 3 million, was stolen from the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art (MACC) and replaced by a fake in its original frame. Local authorities only noticed the theft in 2003, although some believe that it took place at least three years earlier.
The robbery of the painting, considered as one of the jewels of the MACC, was an unsolved mystery until Tuesday, when FBI undercover agents bought it at the luxurious Loews Hotel in Miami Beach for USD 1.5 million, according to Local10.
James Marshall, an FBI spokesman, told Efe that the case is still under investigation and refused to confirm or deny the report.
The Odalisque in Red Pants, dating from 1925, was purchased in 1981 by the then director of the MACC, Sofía Imber, for USD 480,000, from a New York gallery.
Interpol detectives, the FBI and Spanish British and French police, sought for years this painting of the father of Fauvism that portrays an odalisque, one of Matisse's favorite themes of representation.
The Odalisque in Red Pants may have disappeared from the vault of the MACC in an era of "institutional uncertainty," as depicted the book El rapto de la odalisca (The Abduction of the Odalisque), which was published in 2009 by Venezuelan journalist Marianela Balbi.
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