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Picasso Painting Seized - 'Head Of a Young Woman' Worth $27 million Found in Corsica France

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August 5, 2015
Pavle Ivanovic hides behind the pen name of Bob Lansroth as he tries to explore the boundless diversity of artists and the various ways in which they strive to escape the quotidian life. It is through the creative force within us that we must attempt to connect with one another and share our ideas with the world.

The latest news in the world of arts brings us an unusual situation. An awkward predicament emerged for a well-known Spanish banker who wanted to transport some of the artwork in his possession. Namely, a 25 million euros worth Picasso (£17.5m/US$27.4 million) was on the way to Switzerland when it was intercepted and seized by the French authorities. Regarded as a national treasure of Spain, the painting titled Head of a Young Woman is not allowed to be exported.

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Head of a Young Woman – Cultural Asset of Spain

The painting – Head of a Young Woman, has been declared as a Spanish cultural asset and thus was supposed to remain within Spain, not to cross any borders. Botin trying to export the piece is no news for the officials. An attempt of export was filed for the painting back in December of 2012, the desired destination was London, but it was denied by the culture minister of Spain. The opposing decision by Spanish culture minister was clarified by the fact that there was no similar work on Spanish territory dating back from the same period of the artist’s life. In 2015, the Spanish court agreed with the authorities and proclaimed the painting as unexportable due to it being an item of cultural interest.

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Jaime Botin

Jaime Botin Attempts to Export Artwork Without Official Approval

The piece was created by Picasso in 1906, the oil work has been preserved for a long time and it became part of a private collection of Jaime Botin, who is a well-known banker. Botin himself was not aboard the vessel when the French authorities seized the painting. The 79-year-old said that the painting should not be considered to be on the Spanish territory since his vessel was flying a British flag, arguments were quickly dismissed by the Spanish court. The news reports further revealed that the export demand was not made in Botin’s name. The captain of the ship was only able to present two documents about the painting, one of them being a Spanish court judgement from May 2015, labeling it as an object with an ordering not to be taken out of the country.

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Jaime Botin’s boat

The Latest News and Development of the Story

The French customs in Corsica said that the seized artwork, found on the ship, was already wrapped up, conditioned and prepared for transfer. The officials also confirmed that Jaime Botin, the owner of the piece, had been trying to get permission to export the artwork ever since 2012. His yacht has been docked by the French officials while it was on its way to Switzerland on July 30th, 2015. The latest news report that the French customs officials are currently waiting for an official request for recovery of the painting by the authorities of Spain.

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All images used for illustrative purposes only

Featured image: Pablo Picasso – Head of a Young Woman, 1906

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