Stolen Matisse painting recovered in Florida

By Kevin Lewis,

A painting by Henri Matisse that was stolen from a Venezuelan museum ten years ago has been recovered in Florida.

Odalisque in Red Pants was stolen from the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum and replaced with a fake. Authorities are not certain how the thieves took the 1925 painting undetected.

A man and a woman were arrested on Tuesday after allegedly trying to sell the $3 million painting to an undercover FBI agent in Miami, asking $740,000 for the artwork.

Both Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo have been arrested for transporting and possession stolen property. According to CNN, they will appear in court on Friday and face up to ten years in prison if found guilty.

The painting of a topless woman in red pants was sold to the Caracas museum from a New York gallery in 1981 for $400,000.

Although the replacement painting that the thieves left was a poor rendition of Matisse’s masterpiece, the phony could have been on display for five years without anyone noticing according to the Los Angeles Times.

 
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