Tuesday, 7 September 2010

On this day...

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire was arrested in 1911 on account of stealing the Mona Lisa. The painting had disappeared on August 21st, but it wan't until a week later that Apolllinaire fell under suspicion. A former secretary, Gary Pieret, had, in an attempt to display the ease of stealing, gone to the 'Paris Journal', complete with two Iberian statuettes taken from the Louvre. Reading the story, Apollinaire realised the possible implications, even more severe for his friend Picasso who had purchased two similar items from Pieret, and the two planned to flee.

However, they settled on Apollinaire taking the two stauettes to the local police station in return for a guarantee of anonymity. Instead, he was jailed that evening, accused of being 'chief of an international gang come to France to despoil our museums'. Apollinaire was released a week later, going on to produce some of his most famous works, including 'The Breasts of Tiresias', in which he coined the term surrealism.The painting was recovered in 1913.

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