|Henri Matisse’s “Odalisque in Red Pant,” 1925 (left) and the fake used to replace it.
(Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum, via Associated Press)
The Henri Matisse painting, “Odalisque in Red Pants” was stolen a decade ago from a museum in Venezuela. On Tuesday, a man and woman allegedly tried to sell the $3 million artwork for $740,000 to an undercover FBI agent in Miami. The couple has been charged with transporting and possessing stolen property, and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The stolen work was replaced with a look-a-like that ended up being on view for five years before anyone noticed the original was gone. They do look similar, but I think it goes without saying that the museum curators and staff should have caught the impostor much earlier. Which I suppose just goes to show that it’s the name we pay to see, and unfortunately the subtleties of even the most renowned artists can go unnoticed by the people who supposedly know them best.
Read the whole story from the LATimes here.