Pablo Picasso: £17.5 Million Smuggled Masterpiece Seized In Spain

A Picasso painting with an estimated value of more than £17.5 million, or €25 million has been declared a Spanish national treasure and barred from leaving Spain – the work has been seized by French authorities from a British registered boat docked in Corsica, El Mundo reports.

Picasso’s ‘Head of a Young Woman’ (1906), is the property of the banker Jaime Botín, brother of the late banker and philanthropist Emilo Botín, from the Santander group. The work was refused an export permit after it was declared a cultural treasure by the Spanish National Court in May 2015. Authorities seized the ship docked off the island of Corsica, after an attempt to export the painting to Switzerland on Thursday, “caught the attention of the French authorities.” Customs agents confirmed.

The painting, is owned by Jaime Botin, a well-known Spanish banker whose family owns the Banco Santander. Jaime Botín, 79, and brother of the late Emilio Botin, was vice president of banking giant and was not on board the vessel, when customs agents on the French island boarded the vessel the following day and found the painting.

Botín acquired ‘Head of a Young Woman’ in 1977. The artwork was painted by Picasso when he was 24 years old, and is one of the very few examples of Picasso’s Rose period, named in reference to the village in Catalonia where the artist settled in 1906; a period which is considered key for Picasso’s subsequent shift into a Cubist style. French authorities are now waiting for an official claim from Spanish authorities to retrieve the work of art.

Image: AFP via The Guardian

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