Painting Stolen From Museum in 2009 Just Found on Bus
'The Chorus Singers' by Edward Degas is worth nearly $1M
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2018 2:09 PM CST
This photo taken Thursday Feb. 22, 2018 and provided by French Customs shows a stolen painting by French painter Edgar Degas.   (Marc Bonodot/French Customs via AP)

(Newser) – A 141-year-old painting worth nearly $1 million turned up on a bus outside of Paris this month—over eight years after being stolen from a museum, the New York Times reports. According to the BBC, The Chorus Singers by Edward Degas, a French Impressionist master, was stolen from a museum in Marseille in December 2009 while on loan from Paris' Musée d'Orsay. There was no sign of a break-in at the museum, and a museum guard was released by police after a brief detention. "We had all the reasons to be worried about its fate," the head of the Musée d'Orsay says.

On Feb. 16 customs officers were conducting a random search of a bus' luggage compartment at a highway stop outside Paris—long-distance buses are used by criminals to transport drugs—when they found The Chorus Singers in a suitcase. None of the passengers claimed ownership of the suitcase, and no arrests were made. Reuters reports it's as yet unclear why the painting was on the bus or who left in there. The Musée d'Orsay confirmed its authenticity and states it's "delighted" about the return of the painting, which did not appear damaged. The French culture minister says the discovery of The Chorus Singers corrects what had been a "heavy loss for French Impressionist heritage."

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