Stolen $1m Chagall turns up in Kansas

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The saga of the missing Chagall started in a Manhattan art gallery last June and has ended – or so it would appear – in a post office in deepest Kansas. And that is without mentioning the political ransom note.

Six months after it was stolen from the Jewish Museum in New York at a cocktail party, the work by Marc Chagall – Study for 'Over Vitebsk', valued at $1m (£700,000) – has turned up in brown paper in a Kansas post office that sorts undeliverable parcels. It is now awaiting authentication.

"We believe there is a strong resemblance to the stolen painting," said FBI agent Jeff Lanza in Kansas City. A postal worker found it 10 days ago. After spotting museum stickers on the frame, the worker visited the FBI website and saw it had been stolen. "It was pure luck," Mr Lanza conceded.

A spokeswoman for the museum said: "We are very hopeful, but we need to wait." The painting, of an old man floating above a Russian town, was found to have gone missing after a party to mark an exhibition of Chagall. All that was left was the screw from which it had been hanging.

A few days later the museum received a ransom note from the unknown "International Committee for Art and Peace" saying it would only be returned when there was peace between Israel and the Palestinians.