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Stolen Degas painting found on bus outside Paris

February 23, 2018

Degas' 1877 work "Les Choristes" had been missing for nearly a decade. It was stolen while on loan from the Musee d'Orsay.

Frankreich Gemälde von Edgar Degas, Les Choristes
Image: Reuters/D. Francaise

France's Culture Ministry announced on Friday that it had recovered a painting by the impressionist master Edgar Degas that was stolen more than eight years ago.

"Les Choristes," or "The Chorus Singers" was discovered inside a piece of luggage on a coach bus during a security check on Feburary 16. The ministry said that no one on board the bus in Marne-la-Vallee, outside Paris, claimed to own the suitcase.

The 1877 painting depicts a line of men singing in the Mozart's opera "Don Giovanni," based on the legend of Don Juan.

Degas' piece disappeared in Marseille in 2009, where it was on loan from Paris' Musee D'Orsay.

Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen hailed the return of the work, "whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage."

Although considered one of the founders of the impressionist movement, Degas himself disliked the term, and thought himself a "realist." He is particularly well known for his depictions of movement, especially dancers. He died in 1917, leaving behind a robust body of work that comprised not only painting, but also sculpture, prints and drawings.

es/msh (AFP, dpa)