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World Briefing / Iraq

Doubt cast on alleged Picasso

August 28, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Authorities in the art world cast doubt on the authenticity of an alleged Picasso painting that was seized by Iraqi police south of Baghdad.

"The Naked Woman," which police claimed was painted by Picasso, was seized near the southern city of Hillah on Tuesday after a man allegedly tried to sell it for $450,000. Iraqi police said the painting appeared to have been stolen from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion.

But the painting has a tag on the back with several misspellings that says it was sold by "the louvre" to "the museum of kuwait," with the words Louvre and Kuwait in lower case. There are also several stamps bearing the name of the Louvre Museum in Paris.

An official with the Louvre said it had never had a Picasso in its collection and did not sell its works because they are government property.

The London-based Art Loss Registry said it had no record of any paintings listed as missing from the Kuwait National Museum.

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