15-07-13-2200NE04A rodin recovery.jpg
‘Young Girl with Serpent’ by Auguste Rodin.

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The version of Young Girl with Serpent was stolen from a Beverly Hills mansion in 1991 together with other high-value works after the owners' housekeeper was propositioned by criminals to sell them a duplicate of the house keys for $5000.

The housekeeper was eventually tracked to a Miami hotel and arrested whilst sunbathing by the pool.

The location of the Rodin remained unknown until it was consigned to Christie's New York four years ago. ATG understands the consignor had acquired it in good faith and was unaware it had been stolen.

With an estimated value of around $100,000, the auctioneers shipped the sculpture to London at which point it was spotted by Interpol. The auctioneers promptly withdrew the sculpture and negotiations began between the Art Recovery Group, who were appointed by original owner's insurers, and the consignor's legal representative.

The title of the work was later relinquished unconditionally by the consignor and the work was offered back to the victims of the theft in line with the insurance policy. However, the now-elderly owner decided not to reacquire the work and it will now finally appear at a Christie's New York sale in November.