Picasso painting found in Athens years after gallery heist

A missing Pablo Picasso painting has been recovered nine years after it was stolen from a Greek gallery. Back in 2012, two works of art were stripped from their frames and stolen during an elaborate heist at the Athens National Gallery.

Police announced that the Picasso, as well as another famed oil painting, Stammer Windmill by Piet Mondrian, which disappeared from the gallery the same night, had been recovered. The paintings were found in a crypt in Keratea, a town in East Attica, on Greece’s mainland. The police have arrested and are interrogating a suspect at the Attica General Police Headquarters, according to media reports. On Monday, police in Athens said Picasso’s Woman’s Head had been found along with a 1905 painting of a windmill by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Both were taken, along with a third artwork, during an elaborate 2012 heist at the Athens National Gallery. The artworks were stripped from their frames in the early morning raid which only took minutes to carry out. The Reuters news agency, citing an anonymous police official, reported that a Greek man has been arrested after the art was found hidden at a gorge on the outskirts of the city.

Monday’s announcement came just months after it was reported that Greek police still believed the artwork was in the country. The Picasso painting, a portrait of a woman in his signature cubist style, was gifted to the National Gallery by the artist himself back in 1949. He said the gift, painted a decade earlier, was in recognition of the country’s resistance to Nazi Germany. A second Mondrian painting was left at the scene during the heist after thieves dropped it while making their escape. Officials are expected to hold a press conference about the art recovery on Tuesday.