- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WARSAW — A Monet painting that was cut from its frame 10 years ago at a museum in western Poland and replaced with a copy painted on cardboard has been recovered, police said Wednesday.

Officers also have arrested a suspect who had the French impressionist’s “Beach in Pourville” in his possession and confessed to stealing it, officials said.

Poznan police spokesman Romuald Piecuch said that officers had detained the 41-year-old man in the southern city of Olkusz on Tuesday.

Fingerprints and other traces left at the site of the theft helped identify the suspect, Mr. Piecuch said.

Mr. Piecuch said the painting was brought to the National Museum in Poznan, where experts were to verify its authenticity.

“We have great hope that it is our stolen painting,” museum spokeswoman Aleksandra Sobocinska said.

The painting, which shows the sea lapping against a beach in pastel blues and greens, was valued at $1 million at the time of its theft. Ms. Sobocinska said she did not have an estimate of its current value but said that “to us it was a priceless masterpiece.”

Poznan prosecutor Krzysztof Grzeskowiak said the suspect probably wanted the painting for himself. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

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