The Ukrainian authorities announced on Tuesday that it has seized a painting in Kiev from the French impressionist Paul Signac, stolen in 2018 from a museum in Nancy, valued at 1.5 million euros (2.25 million).
“We will soon be able to hand over this painting to the museum,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, presenting the painting, The Port of La Rochelle, in the presence of French Ambassador Isabelle Dumont.
This oil on canvas dating from 1915 representing boats at the entrance to the port of La Rochelle was stolen from the Museum of Fine Arts in Nancy in May 2018. Estimated at one and a half million euros, it was cut while that the frame had been left behind.
“An expertise mission mandated by the French justice has just confirmed the authenticity of the canvas” of 46 centimeters on 55, for its part clarified the town hall of the city of Nancy in a statement.
The thieves, all Ukrainian, were arrested, police chief Sergei Kniazev told the press, adding that the painting was found in Kiev at the home of a man also suspected of the murder of a jeweler.
“We received information about a group of people looking for buyers for paintings stolen in Europe last year,” said another police official, Sergei Tykhonov. “Several works of art have been discovered, including this painting, as part of a series of searches”.
According to Mr Kniazev, Ukrainian law enforcement officials are also cooperating with their Austrian counterparts to verify the possible involvement of this criminal group in the theft in Vienna of a painting by another French impressionist, Auguste Renoir.