According to reports, Dutch art detective Arthur Brand said he helped recover Picasso’s 1938 Buste de Femme which had been stolen from a private Saudi owner’s yacht in France in 1999.
Brand said he first heard the painting, which portrays Picasso’s fellow artist and lover Dora Maar, was in the Netherlands in 2015 and could have been traded back and forth “20 times” in the Amsterdam underworld, used as collateral in drugs and weapons deals.
Brand revealed details of the recovery in an interview with broadcaster RTL and on his Twitter account.
Breaking: I just recovered the stolen 'Dora Maar' by Picasso. Painted in 1938 and stolen in 1999 in Antibes France. A great day for art-lovers, like me! pic.twitter.com/A0KciDJuza— Arthur Brand (@brand_arthur) March 26, 2019
Brand said having received the painting in black rubbish bags at his house, he contacted police and handed it to an insurance company for possible return to its owner.
News agency Reuters said Dutch police told local media they were not taking further action, as the painting has been returned and the statute of limitations in the 1999 theft has expired.
Reuters also reported that the owner, identified as Saudi businessman Abdulmohsen Abdulmalik Al al-Sheikh, could not be reached for comment.