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French customs officials recover stolen Degas painting from bus

French customs officers have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen.

None of the bus passengers claimed suitcase containing artwork during search

This photo taken Feb. 22 shows a stolen painting titled Les Choristes by French painter Edgar Degas, which was discovered by French customs in a suitcase on a bus. (Marc Bonodot/French Customs via The Associated Press)

French customs officers have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen.

The French Culture Ministry said Friday that customs agents in Marne-la-Vallée, about 25 kilometres east of Paris, were surprised to find a work of art bearing the signature Degas inside a suitcase in the bus luggage compartment. The ministry says none of the bus passengers claimed the suitcase during the Feb. 16 search.

Experts verified the artwork as Degas's Les Choristes (The Chorus Singers), which depicts a scene from the opera Don Juan. The painting was taken from a Marseille museum in 2009 while on loan from Paris's Musée d'Orsay.

French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said she was delighted by the recovery of a work "whose disappearance represented a heavy loss for the French impressionist heritage."

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