Another Big Find for the 'Indiana Jones of the Art World'

Arthur Brand tracked down Picasso's 'Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2019 2:21 PM CDT
Picasso That Vanished From a Yacht Found 20 Years Later
This image released on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, by Arthur Brand shows Brand with "Buste de Femme", a recovered Picasso painting.   (Arthur Brand via AP)

It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood movie, so it's only fitting the mystery was solved by a man who's been given a Hollywood-like nickname: "the Indiana Jones of the art world." That would be Arthur Brand, the man who managed to track down a Picasso that's been missing for two decades. "Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)" was painted by the artist in 1938 and in his possession until his death 35 years later. A billionaire Saudi sheik acquired the painting of Picasso's one-time lover and kept it in his yacht, where it was stolen in France in 1999. The BBC reports Brand didn't catch any buzz on its whereabouts until 2015, when he heard a "Picasso stolen from a ship" was making the rounds of the Dutch underworld—"often being used as collateral, popping up in a drug deal here, four years later in an arms deal there."

Brand says it took him some time to determine which Picasso it was exactly. Once he had a title, he was able to start working his connections, and in early March he heard from two reps for a Dutch businessman who had the painting. Brand says that while forgeries have popped up over the years, he knew this painting was the real deal after looking at the back of it, though he didn't share the giveaway detail, reports the AP. The man who had the painting "thought the Picasso was part of a legitimate deal," says Brand. "It turns out the deal was legitimate—the method of payment was not." That man won't be prosecuted. As for the fate of the painting, thought to be worth $28 million, an insurance company will weigh the next move. NBC News reports some 750 Picasso works are listed as lost or stolen. (Brand famously found Hitler's horses.)

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