Art of the political: lost works turn up at French parliament
Three works of art have been found after their mysterious removal from the French parliament prompted art theft police to launch an investigation, officials said Wednesday.
Two of them reappeared leaning against the wall of a committee meeting room, the speaker’s office said, confirming a report in the Canard Enchaine investigative newspaper.
A third, an engraving, was handed back anonymously to the parliament, while a fourth — reportedly a work by the modern French artist Herve Telemaque — remains unaccounted for.
“A legal complaint remains in place for the painting still missing,” the speaker’s office said, with investigators from the Banditry Repression Brigade, which handles art theft, still looking for it.
All four were discovered missing after an annual inventory taken at the end of last year. The speaker’s office said they were valued at 49 to 3,500 euros ($60-4,333).
Along with the engraving, the works that have spontaneously reappeared are a piece by the Greek artist Takis and a painting by Richard Texier.
The Canard Enchaine claimed credit for the sheepish return of the missing artworks, suggesting that its revelations of their disappearance a week ago might have “perhaps frightened the amateur that took them”.
The works are not the first to go missing while under the care of the French state, by a long stretch.
A national commission tasked with carrying out inventories of art held by the state found in 2015 that of more than 58,000 such works, 22,878 were unaccounted for — many believed stolen.