US hands over stolen Degas painting to France

January 22, 2011 03:22

WASHINGTON — The United States has returned to French authorities an Edgar Degas painting that was stolen 37 years ago.

On Friday, the painting was handed over to the acting French ambassador to the United States, Francois Rivasseau.It was recently rediscovered before it was due to be auctioned in New York City. Court papers said the seller did not know it was stolen.

Authorities said Degas painted "Blanchisseuses Souffrant Des Dents" in the early 1870s. A collector donated it to the French government and it was registered with the Louvre Museum.

In 1961, the Louvre lent the painting to the Malraux Museum in Normandy. In late 1973, a still-unknown thief pulled it off the museum wall and slipped away.

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