MANHATTAN (CN) – A federal jury ruled that a Pissarro painting seized from Sotheby’s in 2003 had been stolen from a French museum in 1981, and should be returned. Prosecutors said Emile Guelton stole the painting, “Le Marché,” from the Faure Museum in Aix-la-Bains, then had a San Antonio art dealer sell it on consignment. The dealer sold it for $8,500, and when the new owner consigned it to Sotheby’s in 2003, French officials stepped in.
Sotheby’s estimated the painting’s value at $60,000 to $80,000, and French prosecutors learned of it from the catalogue, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in announcing the verdict.
Neither the San Antonio gallery owner nor Sotheby’s was a defendant in the case. The painting will be returned to France in accord with the National Stolen Property Act.