The United States on Thursday returned the stolen 15-million-dollar Picasso painting "La Coiffeuse" to France, eight months after it was found in a FedEx package with a price tag of 37 U.S. dollars.
"Returning to the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, France, (La Coiffeuse) will come back to life and be seen again by the public thanks to this outstanding Franco-American customs cooperation," said Frederic Dore, deputy chief of mission at the French Embassy here in a ceremony.
Measuring only 13 by 18 inches, "La Coiffeuse" or "The Hairdresser", a 1911 cubist oil painting by Picasso, was last displayed in 1998 in Munich, Germany, and then returned to the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris. The museum reported its missing from its archives in 2001.
No one knows when the theft happened, since the painting had not been publicly displayed for years. It was found stolen only after museum staffers went to retrieve it in the archives in 2001 for a loan request.
Following an investigative lead, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials conducted an inspection of a targeted shipment in December 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. Upon inspection, the painting was revealed.
According to authorities, the shipment label described its contents as a low-value handicraft valued at 30 euros, or 37 dollars.