They almost got away with it. Matisse’s Odalisque in Red Pants was discovered stolen from the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum in Caracas, Venezuela in 2002, but in fact it had been stolen at least two years earlier. The thieves had replaced the painting with a copy and no one had noticed, even though the fake was denounced as inferior when it was detected.
Last week the painting was recovered when two people in Miami tried to sell it to an undercover FBI agent. Among other factors blamed for this theft (and others that have been reported at the museum) museum officials point to the sharp decrease in arts funding under Hugo Chávez.
That’s the real Odalisque on the left, below, and the fake on the right; or wait, is it….
via the NY Times