Police in Brazil discovered a painting by pioneering modernist Tarsila do Amaral — worth an estimated 300 million reais ($59 million) —during a police operation on Aug. 10.
The police recovered Do Amaral’s 1929 “Sol Poente” (Setting Sun) among 15 other stolen paintings concealed under a bed during a raid at the home of a con artist gang member in Rio de Janeiro.
A video on social media appeared to show the moment when officers from the civil police’s senior services division recovered the painting hidden beneath a bed at a beachside apartment in Ipanema.
Police arrested four people, including the elderly victim’s daughter, identified by news website Infobae as Sabine Boghici.
Police accused Sabine of stealing 16 paintings worth an estimated 709 million reais ($139 million) from her 82-year-old mother — identified by Infobae as Genevieve Boghici — in a scam that began in January 2020.
Genevieve is the widow of Jean Boghici, a gallery owner who amassed a significant art collection.
The scam involved Sabine hiring a fake clairvoyant to falsely claim that she was sick and compelled Genevieve to make a series of payments, according to a police statement.
After Genevieve eventually became suspicious, she was forcibly confined to her home, beaten, and gradually robbed of the art collection she inherited from her late husband.
Other artworks reportedly stolen include Do Amaral’s “Pont-Neuf” and “O Sono” and modernist master Di Cavalcanti’s “Mascarada.”
According to the police, some of the stolen artworks were already sold to overseas collectors, including two to the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires in Argentina and three to an art gallery in São Paulo.
Do Amaral is one of Brazil’s most celebrated artists.
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