Photo: Thieves of Matisse's Odalisque Plead Guilty
Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, of Mexico City pleaded guilty to transporting and selling stolen art. The Latin duo was arrested in July after trying to sell the $3 million painting to an undercover FBI agent in Miami, asking $740,000 for the artwork.
“Odalisque in Red Pants” was stolen from the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum in Venezuela 10 years ago and replaced with a fake. Authorities are not certain how the thieves took the 1925 painting undetected.
The painting of a topless woman in red pants was sold to the Caracas museum from a New York gallery in 1981 for $400,000.
Although the replacement painting that the thieves left was a poor rendition of Matisse’s masterpiece, the faux Matisse wasn’t discovered until 2003 – the exact date of the theft is not known.
The art thieves are scheduled to be sentenced on January 22, 2013.