$1m stolen Monet returned after a decade

Monet painted Beach in Pourville in 1882, and it was purchased for Poland's National Museum in Poznan in 1906 where it remained for nearly 100 years; the only Monet the Polish government possessed.

In 2000, the idyllic scene of water lapping at the sands was cut from its frame and replaced with a copy painted on cardboard in a raid reminiscent of the TV series Hustle (or possibly the Mr Bean movie). At that time the work was estimated to be worth around $1m.

Claude Monet Beach at Pourville
Claude Monet's Beach at Pourville

Last week, to Poland's great relief, the painting was discovered by police in the city of Olkusz, southern Poland.

A 41 year old man was arrested at the time. Despite the daringness of the raid, there were some basic errors made in the theft notably that fingerprints were left at the scene.

The painting is now back in Poznan, where experts are checking its authenticity, but they feel confident that they've got their painting back.

It is thought that the thief simply wanted to keep the painting for himself.

Art lovers interested in the Impressionists will be interested to know that there is a major sale of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby's on February 3 which includes one of Cézanne's greatest still lifes.

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