SPANISH authorities have announced that they seized a stolen Picassso painting at Ibiza airport earlier this month.

Airport workers discovered a sketch attributed to the artist Pablo Picasso in a passenger’s suitcase in early July.

The 1966 sketch with the title Trois personnages is valued at around €450,000 with the passenger, who flew in from Zurich, suspiciously failing to declare the artwork.

After officials discovered the person was carrying the artwork, they were immediately taken for questioning.

The passenger, whose identity is unknown, told officials the sketch was a copy and provided a receipt of 1,500 Swiss francs (€1,513) for the work.

Guerica Snip
Picasso’s Guernica can be viewed in the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. Photo: Wikipedia.

However, officials then discovered a second receipt from a Zurich art gallery totaling 450,000 Swiss francs (€457,000), exactly in line with professional valuations of the original artwork.

The search of the passenger’s luggage was carried out following a tip-off by Swiss officials who informed their Spanish counterparts that the passenger’s story was suspicious.

Switzerland is not a member of EU’s non-customs territory, meaning works of art with a value of over €150,000 must be declared. 

The passenger now stands accused of smuggling.

Meanwhile, analysis of the artwork was carried out by members of the Contemporary Museum of Art of Ibiza, who backed up the theory that the art was a genuine original Picasso while the director of the museum announced that the receipt from the Swiss gallery matches the expected market price.

Picasso’s works are some of the most sought after in the world. In 2015, his seminal work ‘Les Femmes d’Alger’ was sold for €180 million.

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