The French government confirmed on Friday that a painting found on a bus in the Paris metropolitan area is from Edgar Degas and was stolen in 2009 at an exhibition in Marseille.
The Ministries of Culture and Finance reported that “the first elements” of the expertise carried out by technicians of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, to whom the work belongs, called “Les Choristes” (The Coristas), confirm this information.
The picture was found last 16 by customs agents during a blitz in the region of Ferrières, Brie, on the A4 road, but none of the bus passengers claimed ownership of the painting.
“Les Choristes” is a monotype, halfway between the painting and the engraving, which Degas performed shortly before being presented at the Impressionist exhibition of 1877.
The work was part of the collection of Gustave Caillebotte and in 1894 became part of the French national collections.
According to the creator himself, it represented a scene from the opera “Don Giovanni” at the end of the first act, when the compromise between Massetto and Zerlina was celebrated.
With an estimated value of 800 thousand euros (more than R $ 3.2 million), the work was stolen from the Cantini Museum in Marseilles, where it had been loaned, at the end of December 2009.
French Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen celebrated the “happy reunion of a precious work whose disappearance was a great loss to the French Impressionist patrimony” and highlighted the work of the customs agents.