WASHINGTON—The U.S. government has formally returned a painting by Pablo Picasso valued at $15 million that had been stolen from a Paris museum more than a decade ago and seized by immigration officials late last year in New Jersey.
The director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Sarah Saldana, officially repatriated the artwork, titled “The Hairdresser,” during a ceremony Thursday at the French Embassy in Washington.
The painting was on its way from Belgium to the New York borough of Queens when it was identified and seized in Newark, New Jersey, last December.
Officials say the package aroused suspicion because it was heading for a climate-controlled storage facility.
That seemed to be a peculiar destination for a package carrying French words suggesting that it contained a $37 Christmas gift.
In related news, thanks to a Phoenix pawn shop owner, county music singer-songwriter Bill Anderson has been reunited with his long lost acoustic guitar.
Anderson had a vintage Billy Grammer guitar when he broke into the music business more than 50 years ago.
He thinks the instrument was loaned to a music museum that went out of business and it had been missing ever since.
A customer pawned the guitar in April at Bell Road Pawn Shop in Phoenix.
Shop owner Mike Grauer looked inside the guitar’s sound hole and saw the name “Bill Anderson.”
He contacted the country music star, who flew Grauer and his wife out to Nashville last weekend.
KPHO-TV reports Anderson invited them on stage at the Grand Ole Opry and he was reunited with his old guitar.