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$3 Million Matisse Painting Recovered By FBI Agents


Posted by: Art-N-Literature.com

ABCNews.com reports that Henri Matisse’s 1925 “Odalisque in Red Pants” has been recovered by FBI agents acting as art collectors at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach. The $3 million painting was taken almost 10 years ago and switched with a counterfeit at a Venezuelan museum.

A woman and a man reportedly attempted to sell the painting to FBI agents for $1.5 million, although the Miami division of the FBI could not confirm or deny this information at this time.

The original painting had been on display at the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum in Caracas since 1981. The only time it ever left the museum was when it was loaned to a Spanish exhibition in 1977. However, an email message in 2002 between an art collector and the museum’s director about a rumor that the Matisse painting was for sale prompted the discovery that the one on display in the museum was a counterfeit.

The fake painting looks nearly identical to the real one save for the shadow on the woman’s left arm. Todd Cronan, a professor of art history at Emory University in Atlanta, told ABCNews.com that in the fake painting the body merges with the background, “something Matisse refused to do in this period.”

According to the newspaper El Mundo, the painting might have been switched during the Spanish exhibition loan in 1977; however the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum could not confirm this information.