Pablo Picasso isn’t alive. But if he was, he might want to pay thanks to Arthur Brand, a Dutch art detective who says he found a stolen Picasso painting. Brand said in an interview with RTL that someone passed him the 1938 “Buste de Femme” in confidence. The artwork shows Picasso’s colleague and lover Dora Maar. “You fear that it will be fake, but when I had it in my hands, I knew right away: this is real,” he said to RTL.
The painting was stolen from a Saudi yacht in 1999 and was considered lost until Brand went public with his discovery. He said the piece was delivered to his house in black trash bags. When he received the painting, he called police and handed the art to an insurance company in hopes of finding the owner, he said. “I had it hanging in my house for one night,” the detective told RTL, estimating the piece’s value at €25 million. “That was exciting . . . It’s fantastic, so unbelievably beautiful.”
The sleuth says he first heard about the painting back in 2015. Brand told RTL he believes the work may have been exchanged 20 times in the Amsterdam underworld, used as insurance for drug and weapon deals. A real estate agent got his hands on the piece but offered it to Brand when he discovered its origins.
Dutch police said they will not take further action, since the statute of limitations for the theft has already expired. The painting has been returned.