Venezuela didn’t even know its Matisse was missing until someone tried to sell it because the thieves put a copy in its place. You can be the judge of whether the two works would have fooled you. But Venezuelans will soon have the original back according to USA Today:
It was found in July when a couple tried to sell it to undercover FBI agents at a hotel in Miami Beach. The two were sentenced last month in U.S. federal court in Miami for attempting to sell the stolen work.
Cuban Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman of Miami was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, and Mexican Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo was sentenced to one year and nine months. Both pleaded guilty to the charges in October.
Court records show that FBI agents and an informant posing as art dealers were negotiating with Marcuello for the sale of the painting for $740,000 in Miami last year. Prosecutors said Ornelas brought the painting to Miami from Mexico City.
Grioni said the U.S. State Department contacted Venezuelan officials to begin the process of returning the Matisse painting after the trial concluded.
Stolen $3m Matisse To Be Returned to Caracas (USA Today)