When a FedEx shipment arrived in Newark with a package marked “art craft/toy” with a listed value of $37, and a message reading “Merry Christmas” it seemed innocuous, writes Melissa Locker in Vanity Fair. However, when customs officials opened the box, they found a painting by Pablo Picasso, stolen from a store room at the Centre Pompidou in 2001. Merry Christmas, indeed.
The 1911 Cubist masterwork, La Coiffeuse (The Hairdresser) was sent from "Robert" in Belgium. The intended recipient and address was not released. No arrests have been made.
Loretta Lynch, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, filed a civil suit to return the painting to France, announcing: “A lost treasure has been found.”
She said seizure of the painting would “extract it from the grasp of the black market in stolen art so that it can be returned to its rightful owner”.