Culture & Arts

The lost piece of the monegasque patrimonial collection

A valuable painting had been taken from the Oceanographic Museum in 2000 and has recently been returned safely.

All is well that ends well, but like all the police stories, it started badly. On 16 December 2000, the Livorno Museum of Natural History in Italy was burgled during the night. The thief escaped with three works of art, including a painting by Louis Tinayre, which the Oceanographic Museum had lent for an exhibition. A work from the patrimonial collection had disappeared.

Fourteen years later, upon looking through an auction catalogue, the museum’s teams saw the work and it was meant to go under the hammer in Marseille. This began an international investigation lasting three years.

“We started with an amicable negotiation but the person in possession of this stolen picture turned a deaf ear,” said Robert Calcagno, director of the premises.

Interpol on the move

In November 2015, a complaint was filed, allowing the Interpol teams to take action to find the work of art, find that it was the stolen painting, and return it to its owner.

“International police cooperated,” said Richard Marangoni, Director of Public Safety, who carried out the reception of the painting handed over by the authorities of the Carabinieri of Genoa, who were investigating the disappearance since the theft in Livorno in 2000.

“This painting has a great deal of heritage value for us,” continued Robert Calcagno. Louis Tinayre, in fact, illustrated many of the campaigns of Prince Albert I. “They collaborated for twelve years, he was a quality painter,” continued the director of the Oceanographic Institute, who hopes to organise a large retrospective exhibition on the work of the artist.

For the time being, the small canvas (20×30 cm) will return to the patrimonial collections of the Oceanographic Museum, among the 151 original drawings by Tinayre illustrating the autobiography of Prince Albert I, published in 1914. The Board of Directors of the establishment will confirm the painting’s return.

Though the Oceanographic Museum had mourned the loss of the painting that had been taken, the collection will now be complete once more.

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