A painting by Pablo Picasso estimated to be 25 million euros, stolen 20 years ago on a yacht in the south of France, has resurfaced in the netherlands thanks to the research of an expert in Dutch art.The Portrait of Dora Maar , a canvas of 1938, also known under the name of Bust of a Woman (Dora Maar) . It represents one of the muses of the painter.

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The table, which was part of the private collection of Picasso until his death, had been stolen in 1999 on the yacht of a sheik from saudi-arabia docked in the port of Antibes, near Cannes. After two decades of fruitless searches, observers and art collectors thought never more to review this masterpiece. Until the Dutch expert Arthur Brand, dubbed the”Indiana Jones of the art world” for his exploits as an investigator, put the hand over at the end of four years of research. This oil on canvas was delivered mid-march with an insurance company, who wanted to remain anonymous, he said to the AFP.

“From the flight, the painting had to have changed ownership a dozen times”

Arthur Brand,

Arthur Brand learns in 2015 that a “Picasso stolen from a boat” was used as currency in illegal transactions in the netherlands. “At this point, I still didnít know what table it was,” he explains. Mid-march, two men working for a Dutch businessman has hit in the middle of the night to his door in Amsterdam, the portrait under his arm. “They had the Picasso, estimated at 25 million euros, wrapped in a sheet and garbage bags black,” says Arthur Brand. The business man “was grieved” because he didn’t know he had a painting stolen in his possession, ” said the expert, who immediately informed the fonts Dutch and French.

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Arthur Brand has gained worldwide fame in 2015 after having recovered in Germany, two bronze horses, made by Josef Thorak, one of the sculptors official of the Third Reich, which decorated the entrance of the Chancellery of Hitler in Berlin, and who had disappeared after the fall of the Wall. In November, after a treasure hunt of several years, it has helped the cypriot authorities to recover a byzantine mosaic exceptional fragment of one of the frescoes stolen from churches in Cyprus after the Turkish invasion in 1974.

Drug and weapon sale

The theft of the Picasso, estimated at about seven million dollars at the time, had encouraged the owners millionaires yachts moored on the côte d’azur to review the security systems on their boats. After the burglary in 1999, the research of the French police remained unsuccessful. The investigators had finished by the closing of the record.

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The array is then passed hand to hand in the underground economy, “often used as collateral, appearing in the smuggling of drugs and arms sales,” says Arthur Brand. “Since the theft, the painting had to have changed ownership a dozen times,” he observes. He had to quickly put the hand over, because the table was “probably in a very bad state”. After you’ve unpacked it, the passion for art could help to hang the Picasso in him, making his apartment “one of the most expensive in Amsterdam” for a night time.

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The next day, a specialist from Picasso to the Pace gallery in New York, travelled to Amsterdam to verify the authenticity of the work, in the presence of Dick Ellis, detective british retired and founder of the unity of art and antiquities of Scotland Yard. Dick Ellis is known to have found the track of several stolen works, including The Cry by Edvard Munch, stolen at the national Gallery of Oslo in Norway in 1994. “There is no doubt that it is the Picasso stolen”, said to AFP the former detective, who now runs a consultancy company based in London. He was in Amsterdam to represent the insurance company now in the possession of the Bust of a Woman .