Stolen Matisse painting to be returned to Caracas

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Associated Press

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 3:04 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A painting by Henri Matisse stolen more than a decade ago from a museum in Venezuela is to be returned to the country.

Raul Grioni is president of Venezuela's Cultural Patrimony Institute and he tells The Associated Press that the painting "Odalisque in Red Pants" is to be returned from the United States within three to five weeks.

Last month, two people were sentenced in U.S. federal court in Miami for attempting to sell the stolen painting.

Grioni said Friday that the U.S. State Department contacted Venezuelan officials to begin the process of returning the Matisse painting after the trial concluded.

It was discovered stolen from Venezuela's Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art in December 2002. The original work was swapped with a forgery.

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