Banksy painting, stolen from Bataclan in Paris, to be returned to France

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A work attributed to the British artist Banksy must be returned to France, from where it was stolen in 2019 before being recently found on a farm near Rome.Representing a sad-looking girl, the work of art paid tribute to the victims of the November 2015 attacks in Paris.

The “Porte de Banksy” will be on display at the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, which houses the French Embassy in Italy, in the presence of Ambassador Christian Masset, chief prosecutor of Aquila, capital of the Abruzzo region, where she been found. early June, and the general of the carabinieri in charge of the defense of the cultural heritage.

The date and conditions for the return of the painting to France have not been disclosed.

The work attributed to the famous British street artist Banksy had been painted in 2018 on one of the emergency exits, located behind the Bataclan, in the passage through which many spectators of the Eagles of Death Metal concert had escaped during the ‘terrorist attack.

Stenciled and painted white, the work depicts a sad-looking girl in homage to the very place where 90 people were killed on November 13, 2015, in a series of jihadist attacks that struck the French capital and its suburb Saint-Denis.

The hooded criminals seized her by cutting the door with a grinder on the night of January 25 to 26, 2019. The scene was filmed by video surveillance cameras.

Six people were arrested in late June in France during a large-scale operation carried out by the Paris criminal investigation service in the Alps and the central regions.

Two of them were charged with theft from an organized gang and the other four were charged with stolen property from an organized gang.

According to Agi, two of the suspects are Italians born in France and a total of eight people have been arrested, while an alleged accomplice is on the run.

An artist at the heart of the debate

Banksy, who likes to keep his identity a secret but one of the most respected in his community, dealt a major blow in June 2018 by distributing a series of stencils, sometimes with a very political tone, in the French capital.

He had claimed authorship of eight works on his Instagram account, including the sad silhouette at the door of the Bataclan, a diversion from the painting “Napoleon crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David, a girl drawing a pink tapestry motif on a cross swarmed near the former “first reception center” for refugees in Paris, and a small masked rat wielding a pencil (or box cutter), near the Center Pompidou.

This latest work, “made on the back of the entrance panel” of a car park, was also stolen in early September 2019. The Center Pompidou, which houses important collections of contemporary art, had filed a complaint “for theft and damage “in a space of its perimeter”.

Banksy, who enjoys playing with the media and the art market, is now one of the most renowned contemporary artists in the world.

In cities like Paris, London and New York, his works offer a tremendous spotlight on subjects at the heart of social debates, such as the question of refugees. If in Paris, elected officials welcomed his artistic “invasion”, the problem of their possible theft or damage inevitably arises.

In October 2018, the buyer of a reproduction of one of Banksy’s most famous images, “Girl with Balloon”, sold for almost 1.185 million euros at Sotheby’s in London, was surprised to see the canvas s ” partially self-destruct thanks to an ingenious mechanism hidden in its frame, partially cutting the image into thin vertical bands.

In recent weeks, he has reproduced on his Instagram account a drawing showing, alongside the portrait of a black man, a burning candle setting fire to the American flag, in tribute to George Floyd. Or the drawing of anonymous people breaking down a statue, a reference to attacks on monuments or statues of historical figures linked to slavery or colonization.

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