US & Canada

Long-stolen Degas painting turns up at US auction

Person reads catalogue featuring the painting
Image caption The painting has been missing for nearly four decades

An Edgar Degas painting stolen in 1973 has turned up at an auction in the US.

"Blanchisseuses souffrant des dents" (Laundry Women with Toothache) was stolen in 1973 from the Havre Museum in Normandy, where it had been stored by the Louvre since 1960.

Sotheby's removed the painting from auction after being alerted by the French authorities.

The painting was expected to fetch $350,000-450,000 in a sale of impressionist art.

A staff member from the Havre Museum spotted the painting in the catalogue, a French official told the AFP news agency.

"We contacted Sotheby's which agreed to withdraw it from the auction," the official said.

"We will begin friendly negotiations with the owner who appears to be of good faith via the auction house."

US and French police are investigating how the painting turned up at the auction.

It was understood not to be on Interpol's international stolen art list.