Stolen Riopelle statues worth $1M found broken

Quebec police say they have recovered a pair of massive bronze statues by Jean-Paul Riopelle that are worth about $1 million.
Esterel is north of Montreal. (CBC)

Quebec provincial police say the two Jean-Paul Riopelle statues they recovered are both broken into two pieces.

Spokeswoman Marie-Josee Ouellet says the sculptures were found in a wooded area about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

They weigh more than 450 kilograms combined and are about two metres tall. Initial reports indicated they were slightly shorter.

The works of art were stolen on Monday in front of the workshop of the late artist in the town of Esterel.

The statues were built in 1963 and police say they are worth about $1 million.

On Monday, passersby noticed the pair of statues – namedLa Défaite – had been knocked down and were on their sides instead of their pedestals.

Later, a municipal security guard who patrols the village of 250 noticed three men milling about the statues and called police.

Police said by the time they arrived at the scene, the sculptures were gone.