The sculpture “Maternity” by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero, that was stolen from a Paris gallery in the beginning of November, is found again.
The art piece has an estimated value of $493,000 USD and was stolen on the 4th of November from the gallery by a man holding the 15 kg statue under his arm, discreetly bypassing security and the attention of museum visitors.
Botero, 85, is Latin America’s best-known living artist and is renowned for his slightly surreal and often comical fat figures, which have made his paintings and sculptures hugely popular across the globe.
The French police immediately started investigations and two suspects were withheld, of which one is under custody. The prime suspect is a man in his fifties who has already been accused of stealing art. A few months ago he made himself the illegitimate owner of a bronze piece of Giacometti as well as a Pre-Columbian sculpture that belonged to another Paris gallery.
What is particular about the robbery is that it took place in front of the Ministry of Internal affairs, in charge of security and the police and next to the Elysée, where the president’s official residence lies. Since the Paris attacks over the last two years, this neighbourhood has been under intense supervision.
Botero’s statue was found with a relative of the thief. The man, a lawyer, was accused of receiving stolen goods. During the search of his home, police also found the Pre-Columbian work as well as another stolen statue.
The Giacometti work is still missing.