1. Henri Matisse. Odalisque in Red Pants, 1925 Oil on canvas 61 x 73,5 cm / 24 x 29 in Fundación Museos Nacionales / Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Collection.

In the early 2000s Odalisque au pantalon rouge (Odalisque in Red Pants) (1), 1925 by Henri Matisse, from the Permanent Collection of the Fundación Museos Nacionales/Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, was in the spotlight when it was discovered that it had been stolen and replaced by a copy (2). The artwork was recovered 14 years later. Possibly, due to the fact that its disappearance was surrounded by mystery, and at a time of deep political instability in the country, it became an event that was widely mediated. In addition, of course, to the importance of the work within the artist’s career and for the collection of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas.

According to the curator María Luz Cárdenas, “it is the only Matisse housed in the country’s museums and the only odalisque of the artist in the museums of Latin America. Its fundamental value is defined because the piece fully exposes the principles that guided the artist in the creation of this series”. Once the work has been recovered, interest is focused on the subject of forgery and the comparison between the original work and the copy.

2. Copy.

The original artwork and the copy were exhibited at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, with didactic information about the formal difference between one and the other, the security situation of patrimony in cultural institutions, and the international monitoring system for cases of theft of patrimony, according to the regulations of each country and those estimated by the International Council of Museums -ICOM.

Written by Anny Bello, curator at Arte Original.

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