Pablo Picasso’s painting Buste de Femme that was stolen in 1999, has been found, a Dutch daily de Volkskrant reported on Tuesday.
Dutch art detective Arthur Brand found the painting of Picasso’s mistress Dora Maar which was stolen from the yacht of a Saudi sheikh in France in 1999 and has been missing ever since.
The businessman bought it in the 1980s from the Pace Gallery in New York. The painting, worth 4 million euros at that time, went missing.
He tracked down the painting through people with contacts in the underworld. In 2015, he heard that the painting was somewhere in the Netherlands. It had been circulating in the Dutch underworld since 2002, where it was used as collateral in drug and weapon deals, Brand said.
“They are afraid they may be accused of theft. However, after consultation with the Dutch police and contacting the police in France, the theft turned out to be time-barred. Returning the painting voluntarily would only be a civil matter,” Brand told the newspaper.
Last Thursday representatives of the businessman brought the Picasso to Brand’s apartment in Amsterdam.
“The painting was still in good condition, but this should not have lasted two more years,” Brand said. “We are just in time.”
The work can now be returned to the Saudi businessman if he repays the insurance premium of 4 million euros. “I think he will do that,” said Brand. “Because the painting is now worth 25 million euros.”