It cost next to nothing for a thief to smuggle a Picasso painting worth millions out of France and into Newark back in December.
On Thursday NBC News announced that the canvas, entitled La Coiffeuse, will be returning to France where it belongs this week after being smuggled illegally into the country.
Painted by famous cubist artist Pablo Picasso in 1911, the work was stolen from the National Museum in France back in 2001. Museum workers noticed that the piece was missing after another facility requested to borrow the painting. When someone went to retrieve the painting for this purpose, he discovered that it was not there.
A full 13 years later, a man known only as "Robert" shipped the missing painting via Federal Express from Belgium to the United States, labeling it as an "art craft" worth only $37.
"A lost treasure has been found," declared U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch after papers were official filed in Brooklyn on Thursday to return the artwork to the museum in France.
It is uncertain whether the true identities of the thief or buyer have been identified, though the painting had been discovered at the Port of Newark on its way to Queens, where it was destined for a climate-controlled storage facility.
Born Pablo Ruiz y Picasso in 1881, Picasso was a Spanish artist known for his cubist and surrealist paintings. His work includes The Old Guitarist (1904) and The Blue Room (1901). He is considered one of the most accomplished artists to have ever lived. He died in Mougins, France in 1973.