Holly Williams for Art-Sheep

The art world was shaken on Friday when a $27.4 million Pablo Picasso painting was seized from a British-registered yacht in Corsica. The painting in question, Head of a Young Woman (1906) belongs to Spanish billionaire Jaime Botín, ex-vice president of Santander, the largest bank in Spain, and was acquired in London in 1977. Though the billionaire had repeatedly requested for a permission for the artwork to be taken out of Spain, his request had always been denied by the Spanish ministry of culture, due to the painting’s immense historical and cultural value.

The art-piece from Picasso’s “Gósol period”, had been declared “a national treasure (which) could under no circumstances be taken out of Spain” by the Spanish court and so it was intended to be smuggled through Corsica and boarded on a plane to Switzerland, when the French authorities intervened. They now await for the Spanish government to officially request the recovery of the painting, so that it can be returned on Spanish soil.


Spanish billionaire Jaime Botín, the painting’s owner and ex-vice president of Santander