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Paintings stolen in UK found in Sicily

Rome, April 2 (Reuters): A painting by French post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin that was stolen in Britain in 1970 has turned up hanging in the kitchen of a retired factory worker in Sicily, Italian police said today.

With it was a second missing painting by Pierre Bonnard, another French avant garde artist of the late 19th century, that the owner bought along with the Gauguin at an auction in 1975 for only 45,000 lire (23.24 euros).

The Gauguin oil-on-canvas, whose value police estimated at 10 to 30 million euros, is very different from the colourful paintings of Tahitian native women he produced after leaving Europe for Polynesia in the 1890s.

It shows two bowls of fruit on a wooden table covered by a white tablecloth, with a small dog sleeping on the floor in the background. Signed and dated 1889, it is dedicated “to the countess N”.

“These two masterpieces have unique, unimaginable stories,” culture minister Dario Franceschini told reporters when the pilfered paintings were displayed at his ministry today.

 
 
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