The Telegraph is reporting that a bronze sculpture of Auguste Rodin by sculptor Camille Claudel has been recovered in Southern France. The bust was stolen from the Guéret Art and Archeology Museum 13 years ago in 1999. Police were investigating a series of robberies in the area when they serendipitously stumbled upon the valuable object. The Telegraph writes,
French detectives were surprised to find it inside the truck of an antique seller who had been under surveillance for weeks.
The suspect in his 50s was being followed in connection to a series of recent burglaries in the Lyon region. He was arrested with another man on June 19 in the town of Montbrison, in the Loire region, where he was found in possession of the Rodin bust, as well as other art objects, all now being investigated by the French unit specialising in stolen art, the OCBC.
“For the moment, the two men are having trouble explaining the origin of the bronze,” a police source told the French daily, Le Parisien.
The 8 kg bust is valued at about $1.25 million and is of special interest due to the intimate relationship between the sculptor Rodin known for his seminal sculpture The Kiss and his pupil and lover Camille Claudel. Claudel was a talented artist whose beauty and relationship with Rodin often overshadow her artwork. She lived a tragic life as she spent the last 30 years of her life alone in an asylum in Montfavet after being condemned by her family.