Matisse painting stolen in 1987 recovered in UK

LONDON (AP) — A Henri Matisse painting stolen in 1987 from a Swedish museum by a thief wielding a sledgehammer has been recovered, an art specialist and a dealer said Tuesday.

The Art Loss Register, which tracks stolen, missing and looted art, says "Le Jardin" was found when a British dealer checked the picture against the group's database before selling it.

Dealer Charles Roberts, who runs Charles Fine Art in southern England, said he was shocked to discover the painting was stolen.

"It's not something that happens every day," Roberts said. "I'm glad I found out now rather than later."

Roberts said the current Polish owner, whom he did not name, had bought the Impressionist artwork in good faith 20 years ago.

Christopher Marinello, a lawyer working with the London-based Art Loss Register, said the 1920 painting, valued at about $1 million, would be returned to Stockholm's Moderna Museet. It was snatched from the gallery during a nighttime raid in May 1987.

The museum's director, Daniel Birnbaum, said it was "extremely gratifying that the painting has surfaced after so long."

"We are reassured that the painting appears to be in good condition and look forward to having someone from the museum staff look at it," he said.

Birnbaum said he was in contact with the Swedish Culture Ministry about the formal return of the painting.

Marinello said it was up to Swedish police to decide whether to try to track down the thieves.

___

Associated Press Writer Karl Ritter in Stockholm contributed to this report.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 11 hours ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 12 hours ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 15 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • David Moyes statement after Man United firing
    David Moyes statement after Man United firing

    Statement released by David Moyes on Wednesday, a day after Manchester United announced he left as manager after less than a season in charge.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.