Purported Pablo Picasso Painting Seized by Iranian Police

Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971. A new major project 'Picasso Mediterranean' focuses on the artist's relationship to the sea. Photo read RALPH GATTI/AFP/Getty Images.
Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France, in 1971. Photo courtesy RALPH GATTI/AFP/Getty Images.

A painting that appears to be the work of Pablo Picasso has turned up in the unlikeliest of places: the small village of Ultan on Iran’s border with Azerbaijan. Iranian police seized the canvas after they learned that a local was looking to sell it for a cool $900,000, reports PressTV.

The painting’s discovery was announced in provincial headquarters by the head of Anti-Contraband and Currency Trafficking. Art experts from Ardebil’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department studied the piece and, based on comparisons to other works by the artist, attributed it to Picasso.

The owner’s name has not been released to the press, but the painting was reportedly part of a private collection of Cubist art.

If the canvas is really the work of Picasso, it may have been stolen. The Spanish master has been a popular target for art thieves, especially in recent years. The recovery of this work would represent a happy resolution for the painting, as compared to the fates of Harlequin Head (1971), which in 2013 was most likely burned by a robber’s panicked mother, and Le pigeon aux petit pois (1904), which was supposedly thrown out by the man behind its 2010 robbery.

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