Stolen Gauguin and Bonnard paintings recovered in Italy

Stolen Gauguin and Bonnard paintings recovered in Italy
A visitor looks at creations by artist Paul Gauguin during a preview of the "Gauguin: Metamorphoses" exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York

ROME - Two paintings by the French artists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard, stolen in London in the 1970s, have been recovered in Italy, the culture ministry said Wednesday.

The works, thought to be worth millions of euros (dollars), were recovered by Italy's heritage police, who are expected to reveal details of the works and their recovery at a press conference later Wednesday.

The police division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage will also unveil an application for mobile telephones and tablets which will "allow citizens to actively collaborate in the search for stolen works of art" by sending in photographs of suspect artworks, it said.

Mariano Mossa, who heads up the heritage police, said in January that "the turnover generated by the illegal sale of works of art comes fourth on a world level behind the sale of weapons, drugs and financial products".

Italy has the largest data bank on stolen art in the world, with details on some 5.7 million objects.

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