Friday, 18 October, 2019

Next Stop Home: Stolen Degas Impressionist Painting Found on Bus

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The French national museums service said its estimated price was 800,000 euros (nearly $1 million).

Last week, it was found in a suitcase in the back of a bus at a highway stop near Paris.

The small pastel painting, "Les Choristes", depicts singers in an opera chorus, and was painted in the Impressionist style by Degas in 1877. In the lower left hand corner: Degas' signature.

Officials said none of the passengers on the bus admitted to owning the work. No one claimed it.

France's Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said she was delighted with "this happy rediscovery. whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage".

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The painting was stolen from a museum in Marseille in 2009 while on loan from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

As the culture ministry explains, Les Choristes is a monotype: "A printing process that is halfway between painting and engraving". The artist paints or draws with ink on a glass or metal plate that is then pressed onto paper.

The stolen painting by French painter Edgar Degas. "It would have been a awful loss for us to do it without this painting", a museum spokeswoman told Agence France-Presse.

So ends the unusual road trip for Degas' only work inspired by an opera that doesn't feature dancers. That year, customs officers at the Roissy airport in Paris seized two 14th- and 16th-century marble bas-reliefs that Louvre conservators identified as likely looted from Syria.

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