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Painting seized in Miami may be missing Matisse

  • A painting by French artist Henri Matisse that was stolen from a Venezuelan museum more than a decade ago has been recovered in an undercover sting operation in Miami.

    A man and a woman allegedly tried to sell the 1925 work Odalisque à la Culotte Rouge (Odalisque in Red Pants) to FBI agents for $740,000.

    They were subsequently arrested and charged with possession of stolen goods.

    Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

    The painting depicts a harem scene with a barechested woman seated on the floor with her legs crossed and wearing bright red pants. It is valued at $3 million.

    In 2003, the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art announced the painting had been stolen and replaced with a forgery.

    The theft was discovered after an art collector heard the painting was on sale in New York and contacted the museum.