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Italian car dealer brought the stolen Rubens' painting to Greece

13 September 2011 / 13:09:38  GRReporter
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The Greek police are on the track of an Italian car dealer who works in Brussels and is probably directly involved in the theft of the Rubens’ painting, which was found ten days ago in the trunk of a car in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. A 65-year-old antiquarian having a shop in Plaka and his 40-year-old girlfriend, a local television star, were captured trying to sell the painting to bogus buyers, who proved to be undercover operatives.

Initially, it was believed that it was the painting Wild Boar Hunt by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, stolen in 2001 from the Royal Museum of Art in the Belgian capital. There were doubts whether it was the original work or its perfect replica. Last week, the Greek police presented the painting to journalists and proved its authenticity. It is the Rubens’ Calydonian Boar Hunt, stolen by three masked men from the Belgian Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent in 2001.

The two detainees insisted before the investigators that they had no connection with the theft of the picture, but it seems the police are of quite different opinion. The TV presenter says that she received the picture as a gift from her Italian friend from Naples during their joint stay in Rhodes in 2003. However, police officers believe that the Italian brought the stolen painting to Greece and sold it to a close relative of the detained TV presenter, who lives permanently in Rhodes. The Greek police had requested assistance from the Interpol in tracing the Italian citizen having automobile business in Brussels.

The police even think that this is not an isolated case but a criminal network of dealers of stolen works of art that have managed to bring in Greece missing paintings by other major artists including Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Eugene Delacroix. The network involves Greeks and Italians and the investigation is held in Athens and Rhodes and in northern Greece too.

Tags: Peter Paul RubensCalydonian Boar HuntStolen paintingCrime news
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