August 18, 2012 - 14:22 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The guards in front of Caracas's Museum of Contemporary Art did not appear to feel too threatened by the protest taking place on their doorstep, The Guardian reported.
Early one recent morning more than a dozen women wearing nothing but red genie pants gathered at the doors of the institution from where Henri Matisse's Odalisque in Red Trousers went missing, to ask for the prompt return of the painting they were emulating.
The women were photographed by the Venezuelan artist Violette Bule in poses reminiscent of the 1925 post-impressionist work that was replaced with a fake over a decade ago.
"My main goal is to have the original returned but I also want to call attention to the irony behind the way the art market works," said Bule, who masterminded the ensemble. "After this scandal, the Odalisque will surely be worth much more," she added.
Though the painting is said to have been recovered by FBI agents in Miami, details of the operation or the exact whereabouts of the Odalisque valued at well over $3m (£2m) have yet to be revealed. Two weeks ago, the Venezuelan attorney general, Luisa Ortega, declared to the press that her two attempts to contact U.S. officials regarding the painting had gone unanswered. No other announcements have been made since.
In the meantime, the mystery behind the theft of the semi-naked woman is leading some to doubt whether the oil painting allegedly offered to the undercover agents is not in fact another copy.