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U.S. returns missing artwork to France

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The United States returned a long-missing work of art to France last week, the third such recovery in little more than a year, officials said.

On Jan. 25, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement turned over to the French ambassador what the embassy described as a rare, historic and precious work by impressionist Camille Pissarro. The monotype, titled “The Fish Market,” had been taken in 1981 from the Faure Museum in Aix-les-Bains, the embassy said.

The embassy said a similar transfer was made Oct. 13 of “A Fisherman’s Daughter,” painted in 1876 by Jules Breton. It was stolen from the Douai Beaux Art Museum in Northern France by German troops during World War I.

And on Jan. 21, 2011, ICE said it returned a painting by Edgar Degas that was completed between 1870 and 1872. The work shows two views of a laundress with a toothache.

In 1961, it was lent to the Musee Malraux in Le Havre in Normandy, France, but was stolen from the museum in December 1973.

In returning the Degas, ICE Director John Morton said his agency’s Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities unit was set up to identify, investigate and return cultural treasures such as the stolen painting to their rightful owners and countries of origin.

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