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MISSING: Precious Pablo Picasso Vase Forgotten on a Train in Germany

10-inch “Le Hibou” vase.

Picture this: you are on a train carrying a precious piece of artwork in a shopping bag. You then set the bag down on the floor and ride quietly until you reach your transfer stop, but once you switch trains you eventually realise that you’ve forgotten to pick up the bag again... And then you panic.

Do you break into a sweat? Pace frantically around the room? Call the police to search for the forgotten bag? Even though you probably have not done this, a man in Germany is currently searching for this valuable item, and so far has had no luck. What had been called a moment of “monumental forgetfulness” has now turned into a nail-biting investigation. This 76-year-old man’s story makes the seemingly impossible scenario, possible.

On February 15th, an “elderly gentleman” took a train from Kassel to Dusseldorf with an original 10-inch-tall Pablo Picasso vase — “Le Hibou” — from his private collection and stored it in an ordinary shopping bag. It is said that this vase was created in 1953 at a ceramics shop in Madura in South of France, and according to the German police, it is worth at least 10,000 euros. This unique item is part of Picasso’s “Owl” series which included sketches, paintings, and other ceramics (one which sold for 15,000 euros at an auction in Cologne in 2016).

Now the search continues. After conducting a private investigation that rendered no information, German officials are urging locals and any witnesses on the ABR 26734 train to contribute details of the incident. It is only a matter of time until the “unknown culprit” who has taken the vase is revealed…

Camila G, Year 12

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