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Recovered Matisse "Odalisque in Red Pants" returned to Venezuelan authorities
In this file combo shows the original painting by Henri Matisse titled "Odalisque in Pants," left, next to a fake version that was on display in the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum of Caracas, Venezuela. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, a federal judge in Miami sentenced a Cuban and Mexican 33 and 21 months in prison, respectively, for trying to sell the painting by Henri Matisse stolen from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas. The Caracas museum bought it in 1981.
CARACAS (AFP).- A painting by Henri Matisse that was stolen more than a decade ago in Caracas and later recovered in an FBI sting was turned over Monday to Venezuelan authorities.

The "Odalisque in Red Pants" disappeared from the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas after being replaced with a fake sometime between 1999 and 2002.

It was recovered in Miami Beach in 2012 in an FBI undercover operation that led to the convictions of Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, a US citizen, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, a Mexican.

"The work is in extraordinary condition, with only slight imperfections on the edges, but it is fine," Joel Espinoza, an official with Venezuela's attorney general's office, said in a televised interview from Austin Texas.

Painted in 1925 by the French master, the Odalisque has been valued at more than $3 million.



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