Entertainment & Arts

Stolen Rodin sculpture returned 25 years on

Rodin Image copyright Art Recovery Group

A rare Auguste Rodin sculpture stolen nearly 25 years ago has been recovered after it turned up in London.

Young Girl with Serpent (1886), estimated to be worth around $100,000 (£65,000), was looted from a Beverly Hills mansion in 1991.

It was taken along with other works of art valued at more than $1m (£650,000).

The heist was facilitated by the housekeeper of a Los Angeles collector who was paid $5,000 by art thieves to give them copies of his house keys.

The housekeeper was later arrested while sunbathing by a pool in Miami - but the whereabouts of the Rodin remained unknown until it turned up at Christie's auction house in 2011.

There followed a four-year tussle between lawyers representing the collector who offered the sculpture to Christie's and the work's original owner - an anonymous art collector collector, who is now in her eighties.

Following mediation by Art Recovery International, the sculpture has now been released back to her.

Other works stolen in 1991, including an early sketch of Rodin's The Kiss and another sculpture, The Eternal Spring, have not been recovered.

Young Girl with Serpent is due to be auctioned later this year to offset the owner's insurance costs.

Christopher A Marinello, CEO of Art Recovery International, told Artlyst: "This case was a perfect example of public and private sector collaboration.

"We are extremely grateful for the steadfast determination of the Beverly Hills Police Department, and in particular the perseverance of Detective Michael Corren, in keeping this case open for 24 years and seeing through its resolution."

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