AFP - Thieves stole a valuable painting by 19th century artist Edgar Degas overnight from a French museum, police said Thursday.
The colourful image of singers performing on a theatre stage was missing when staff opened up the Cantini Museum in the southern port city of Marseille, prosecutor Jacques Dallest said.
The national museums service said the picture was a pastel work titled "The Chorus", worth 800,000 euros (1.14 million dollars), correcting an estimate given by local police that it was worth some 30 million euros.
Loaned by the Orsay museum in Paris for an exhibition featuring some 20 works by Degas, it measures 32 centimetres by 27 (about 13 inches by 10). Dallest said it had been unscrewed from the wall.
"As far as I know there was no break-in," Dallest said, adding that investigators suspected an intruder, a visitor to the exhibition or an inside job.
City councillor Maurice Di Nocera, responsible for organising major events in Marseille, called the theft "a disaster for the museum."
The museum was closed Thursday while police pursued their investigations, including examining film from security cameras.