A Pablo Picasso painting worth $27.4 million was seized in Corsica on Friday, according to an Associated Press report. The painting, Head of a Young Woman (1906), illegally left Spain and was en route to Switzerland. El Mundo reports that the painting is the property of Spanish banker Jaime Botín, who bought the work in 1977 in London.
Corsican authorities had been told that the painting may have been smuggled and was coming through Corsica. On Friday, when authorities searched a boat’s cargo, they found documents supporting rumors that the work was important and that it was, indeed, leaving its home country without any legal permission. The painting had been declared a cultural treasure by a Spanish court in May (curators at the Reina Sofia have also said the work has “exceptional importance”), and one of the documents given to authorities during the seizure indicated as such.
Head of a Young Woman dates from Picasso’s Rose Period, in which the Spanish painter eschewed the dark tones and depressing subject matter of his work made at the turn of the 20th century. The painting includes light pinks and beiges, and is prized because it also shows Picasso shifting into a Cubist style.
French authorities are now waiting for Spain to recover the work.