Two Greek Cypriots, aged 47 and 48, and a third man 53, will appear in Limassol’s court on 27 April charged with conspiracy to commit felony, and burglary. The case is connected to the disappearance of a pastel drawing by the French Impressionist painter Edgar Degas. The work of art which depicts a ballerina is estimated to be valued at millions of euros.
The theft of the uninsured painting belonging to a 70-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, in Apeshia village dates back to 29 September last year. The artwork, titled ‘Ballerina adjusting her slipper,’ approximately 47cm by 61cm in size, and dated late 19th century has not been recovered. The owner stated that he had inherited the painting from this grandmother, who lived in Paris. The police also are charging the suspects with the theft of a safe containing seven gold watches, three pairs of gold opera glasses, and 20 cufflinks, estimated to be worth around €162,000.
There were questions about the authenticity of the Degas painting however authorities have a statement from an expert confirming its authenticity. The police said that the painting’s authenticity did not matter to them and they would charge the suspects regardless. “It doesn’t matter if the painting is an original or not. We have suspects in custody and we are taking them to court regardless of whether they stole an original or a copy,” a police statement said.
Police stated to the Cypress Mail; “a Russian man had shown interest in buying the art collector’s estate along with some of the paintings in his collection and that a viewing had been arranged two weeks before the painting was stolen. The 53-year-old South African is the person who had initially contacted the owner, ostensibly to mediate for the sale of the house and part of the art collection. The other two suspects, residents of Larnaca who had been known to police for past cases, were arrested after their mobile phone records indicated they had been in the area at the time of the robbery”.