A $15 million Pablo Picasso painting is back on display in a Paris museum after a long and unusual journey. "La Coiffeuse" ("The Hairdresser") disappeared from a French storage room more than a decade ago, then turned up in a package from Belgium to New York last year — with a customs label calling it a $37 Christmas gift.
Its recovery — in Newark, N.J. — is an unusual success story. A top French government minister and the U.S. ambassador attended the unveiling Thursday at the abstract painting's new home at the Pompidou Center museum in Paris. The investigation into who sent the package and how the painting was stolen is still underway. After the seizure, U.S. authorities said the small artwork, painted in 1911, endured minor damages and need restoring. "It was such a moment of joy when I was told that this painting was found again," said Olivier Picasso, a grandson of the painter, calling the discovery important for art history.
Heston's Wyeth paintings to be sold
Three works by Andrew Wyeth owned by the painter's close friend, actor Charlton Heston, are headed for auction. They are being offered for sale at Sotheby's New York on Nov. 18 by the estate of Heston and his wife, Lydia. The works are Wyeth's landscape "Flood Plain" from 1986, estimated at $2 million to $3 million; "Ice Pool," a watercolor of a winter scene created in 1969 that carries a pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $250,000; and "Study for 'Flood Plain,' " which the artist gave to Heston in 1991, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. Heston died in 2008; Wyeth died the following year. The actor greatly admired the work of Wyeth and began a correspondence with him in the 1980s. In an introductory essay to the auction catalog, Heston's son, Fraser Heston,said his father considered Wyeth "a kindred spirit, having grown up in Michigan with long, frozen winters and long, lovely walks through the gloaming woods."
Real, this time: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called British musician Elton John and agreed to meet him. This time it's for real. After John posted a message on Instagram last week, thanking Putin for calling him, two Russian pranksters admitted that it was them who called John. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov quoted Putin as telling John, "I know that those phone pranksters fooled you. Please don't be angry with them." Peskov said, "Putin also said that he understands how popular Elton John is, so if their schedules permit, he will be willing to meet him in the future." John has criticized Russia's law against gay "propaganda" and comments by Putin suggesting that gay people prey on children.
barred?: A government minister signaled Thursday that R&B singer Chris Brown won't be allowed to tour Australia in December because of his criminal conviction for assaulting pop star Rihanna. Michaelia Cash, who was assistant minister for Immigration and Border Protection before a Cabinet reshuffle this week, said she would recommend that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton refuse the 25-year-old American a visa on character grounds.