A painting by 19th century Impressionist Edgar Degas, worth £700,000, has been found on a bus in France, more than eight years after it was stolen from a museum.
French customs officers making a random check on a bus at a motorway layby in Marne-la-Vallee were shocked to find the work of art bearing the signature ‘Degas’.
The 1877 painting Les Choristes, or The Chorus Singers and sometimes called The Extras, was found in a suitcase in the bus’s luggage compartment on February 16.
But when officers asked passengers who the case belonged to, they had no idea.
Experts verified the artwork, which depicts a scene from Mozart’s opera ‘Don Giovanni’, as Degas’s work.
The painting was stolen from a Marseille museum on December 31, 2009 while on loan from Paris’ Musee d’Orsay.
There were no signs of a break-in, leading police to believe it was an inside job or that a museum visitor had hidden and waited till the venue was shut before unscrewing the work from the wall and escaping.
French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said she was delighted by the recovery of a work ‘whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage.’