Stolen Picasso Found Stuffed in a Package Marked “Art Craft”

Shaunacy Ferro
Le Coiffeuse via ICE
Le Coiffeuse via ICE / Le Coiffeuse via ICE

If you’re going to ship a stolen painting by an internationally renowned artist, maybe don’t put it in a box labeled “art.” That’s the lesson of La Coiffeuse, a Picasso painting worth $15 million that was recovered by customs officials and returned to its owner, a Parisian art museum, earlier this month.

The FedEx label affixed to the stolen painting, valuing it at 30 euro. Image Credit: ICE

The painting was reported stolen from a storage facility belonging to Paris' Musée National Museum of Modern Art in 2001. The cubist work from 1911 reappeared in December of last year, when customs officials in Newark, N.J. received a tip to check a package arriving from Belgium via FedEx. The shipping label listed the box’s sender as simply “Robert,” and classified its contents as “art craft” worth 30 euro ($35). The sender also wrote “Joyeux Noel,” or “Merry Christmas.” Inside was the missing Picasso painting. 

Art experts from the Musée National Museum of Modern Art in Paris authenticated the work. After 14 years in hiding, it will no doubt need some restoration work before it can be exhibited again.

[h/t: The History Blog]