Museum Watchman Arrested in Degas Theft

Edgar Degas, Les Choristes, Musee D'Orsay, Cantini Museum
"Les Choristes" (1876) by Edgar Degas was reported stolen from the Cantini Museum on Thursday.

MARSEILLE, FRANCE — A security guard at the Cantini Museum of contemporary art made a shocking discovery on Thursday morning; hours later a night watchman was taken into police custody. The museum remain closed Thursday while authorities examined footage from security cameras. Since there were no signs of a break-in, the theft was thought to be an inside job.

The watchman was suspected of stealing a rare work of art by French Impressionist artist Edgar Degas. The 13"x10" chalk pastel entitled Les Choristes ("The Chorus") depicts a colorful group of male singers performing on stage and was created in 1876. The piece is reportedly worth $1.15 million.

Les Choristes was on loan from the Musee d'Orsayas part of an exhibition featuring 20 works by the 19th century artist. Marseilles city hall, which runs the Cantini Museum, said 70,000 people had already visited the exhibition due to close January 3 before heading to Italy and Canada.


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