Published: Sun, February 25, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

French customs officials find stolen Degas in luggage on bus

French customs officials find stolen Degas in luggage on bus

Another work by Degas, who was known for his paintings and sculpture during the Impressionist movement, was pilfered in 2008. The art was lifted while it was on loan in 2009 to the Musée Cantini in Marseille.

A 141-year-old painting worth almost $1 million turned up on a bus outside of Paris this month-over eight years after being stolen from a museum, the New York Times reports. Yet on February 16, it was not discovered at a shady auction house or the vault of an art thief, but inside a suitcase in the back of a bus at a highway stop near Paris.

Police were making random checks on a bus at a highway rest area about 30 kilometers east of Paris when they found it.

None of the passengers claimed the suitcase as their own, according to France's Ministry of Culture. At the time, authorities said there was no sign of a break-in, according to the BBC.

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France Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen called the find a "happy rediscovery of a precious work belonging to the national collections, whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for French impressionist heritage". "The artist made an ink composition, brushed on a metal plate, before putting this plate in press".

So ends the unusual road trip for Degas' only work inspired by an opera that doesn't feature dancers.

French customs says it handled 71 cases in 2016, seizing more than 10,000 works of art, including coins and artifacts.

In 2015, customs intercepted a private yacht in the Mediterranean displaying a painting by Pablo Picasso forbidden from leaving Spain.

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