The AP is reporting that Jean-Leon Gerome’s Pool in a Harem (1876) has been returned to the Hermitage by the Communist party. Gennady Zyuganov, a Communist party official said a man brought the work into the party headquarters.
The painting was stolen from the Hermitage in 2001, and has been valued at $1 million. It seems the painting may have been severely damaged, and cut into 4 different pieces. It is not clear why exactly the work was handed over to the Communist party. It’s another in a long string of mysterious art thefts. This work has been returned, but catching the thieves seems highly unlikely at this point.
(Image: Jean-Léon Gérôme, “Pool in a Harem,” ca. 1876 ©2003 State Hermitage Museum)