Matisse's "Odalisque in red pants," back to Venezuela
The Venezuela's Cultural Heritage Institute informed that the piece of art will arrive in the country this month
The piece of art had been stolen from the museum by Pedro Marcuello Guzmán and María Ornelas Lazo, who were sentenced to prison for having transported, taken possession, and attempted to sell the stolen painting.
The US Department of State has contacted the Venezuelan Embassy to inform that the painting could be transferred back to the country, the president of the Institute of Cultural Heritage (IPC), Raúl Grioni, stated. "They (US authorities) said that the trial had ended. Those found guilty had been convicted. We were duly informed that the painting was ready to go back. The US Government took this very seriously," Grioni informed.
An expert in Matisse may have a look at the painting upon request of the Venezuelan Government to confirm if it is the original and not just another replica. The painting had already been reviewed by retired curator from the New York Museum of Modern Art John Elderfield, who testified in court and confirmed its authenticity.
Translated by Jhean Cabrera
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.