French customs officials find stolen Edgar Degas painting in luggage on bus

French customs officials find stolen Edgar Degas painting in luggage on bus

French customs officials find stolen Edgar Degas painting in luggage on bus

France's Culture Ministry announced on Friday that it had recovered a painting by the impressionist master Edgar Degas that was stolen more than eight years ago.

Francoise Nyssen said customs officials found the pastel - thought to be worth around 800,000 euros ($893,000) - in the luggage compartment of a bus stopped in a motorway lay by to the east of Paris.

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The minister said she was delighted about the "rediscovery of a precious work belonging to the national collections, whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage".

"They discovered a work of art in a suitcase that carried the signature "Degas" which none of the passengers admitted to having put there".

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Degas' 1877 painting Les Choristes, or The Chorus Singers, is done in pastels and depicts a line of men singing in the opera Don Juan. According to the BBC, the pastel painting, which was found during a random search, is said to be worth 800,000 euros, or almost $984,000.

The painting was stolen from a museum in Marseille in 2009 while on loan from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

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The artist, born in 1834 as Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas and later known as Edgar Degas, died in 1917.

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