Painting ‘Lady Reeves’ by Salvador Dali seized by Lebanese special services from smugglers in Beirut, the Lebanese national agency NNA.
According to the agency, in the region of Kola and Doukhat Aramun in the Lebanese capital, joint operational activities were conducted to control international robbery and police officers, as a result of which four people were arrested, including one Syrian citizen.
In a statement Wednesday, Lebanese Internal Security Forces announced the artwork had been seized on October 13 following a large-scale investigation carried out by the country’s judicial police unit dealing with international crime. The operation was conducted in line with “the fight against crimes of theft and trafficking antiquities,” it said.
The robbers tried to sell the picture by stealing it in one of the neighboring states. The law enforcement agencies say that the canvas is original and is estimated at several million dollars.
It has not been revealed how the perpetrators managed to snatch the canvas measuring 147 x 92 cm (57.87 x 36.22) from its owner, who has not been identified either.
The portrait was purchased at Christie’s auction house in London in 1997 and fetched £89,500 – a somewhat more modest sum than the estimate of the Lebanese authorities. After that it was kept in a private collection, according to the catalogue data on the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation website.
The name of the eccentric artist has recently been making headlines, almost three decades after his death in 1989, after a woman, claiming to be his biological daughter, won a lawsuit to exhume his corpse for a paternity test. Pilar Abel Martínez alleged that her mother had an affair with the famous surrealist.