'Picasso' found under tree in Romania appears to be hoax

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian novelist who thought she had found a painting by Pablo Picasso stolen from a museum in the Netherlands six years ago seems to have been the victim of a prank.

Mira Feticu said an anonymous tip led her to the picture — supposedly Picasso's Tete d'Arlequin — under a tree in eastern Romania, and she handed it to the Dutch embassy.

Frank Westerman, a Dutch journalist who accompanied Feticu to Romania, wrote on Facebook that the pair had been hoodwinked. "The supposed lost Picasso was put there by two Belgian theater makers."

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Netherlands museum art heist
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Netherlands museum art heist
ARCHIVO - En esta foto de archivo del 16 de octubre de 2016 se ve a la derecha un espacio vacío donde se encontraba el cuadro de Henri Matisse, "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" en el museo Kunsthal de Rotterdam, Holanda. Una novelista rumana que creyó haber hallado un cuadro de Pablo Picasso que fue robado hace seis años del museo holandés aparentemente fue víctima de una broma pesada. (AP Foto/Peter Dejong, File)
The empty space where Henri Matisse' painting "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" was hanging, right, is seen next to a painting by Maurice Denis, left, at Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012. Seven paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet were stolen from a museum in Rotterdam in an early-hours heist, Dutch police said Tuesday. The theft at the Kunsthal museum is one of the largest in years in the Netherlands, and is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time. The collection was on display as part of celebrations surrounding Kunsthal's 20th anniversary. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The empty space where Henri Matisse' painting "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" was hanging is seen at Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012. Seven paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet were stolen from a museum in Rotterdam in an early-hours heist, Dutch police said Tuesday. The theft at the Kunsthal museum is one of the largest in years in the Netherlands, and is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
A painting by Camille Pissarro hangs in the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on October 17, 2012 at the place where a Henri Matisse was stolen on October 16. Seven masterpieces worth up to 200 million euros were stolen from the museum in a pre-dawn heist. The stolen works are Pablo Picasso's 'Tete d'Arlequin', Henri Matisse's 'La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune', Claude Monet's 'Waterloo Bridge, London' and 'Charing Cross Bridge, London', Paul Gauguin's 'Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee', Meyer de Haan's 'Autoportrait' and Lucian Freud's 'Woman with Eyes Closed'. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
A empty space is seen on October 16, 2012 where a painting by French artist Henri Matisse was stolen at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam a day after seven masterpieces worth up to 200 million euros were stolen from the museum in a pre-dawn heist. The stolen works are Pablo Picasso's 'Tete d'Arlequin', Henri Matisse's 'La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune', Claude Monet's 'Waterloo Bridge, London' and 'Charing Cross Bridge, London', Paul Gauguin's 'Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee', Meyer de Haan's 'Autoportrait' and Lucian Freud's 'Woman with Eyes Closed'. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
A guard is reflected in the glass of a painting at the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on October 17, 2012 a day after seven masterpieces worth up to 200 million euros were stolen from the museum in a pre-dawn heist. The stolen works are Pablo Picasso's 'Tete d'Arlequin', Henri Matisse's 'La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune', Claude Monet's 'Waterloo Bridge, London' and 'Charing Cross Bridge, London', Paul Gauguin's 'Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee', Meyer de Haan's 'Autoportrait' and Lucian Freud's 'Woman with Eyes Closed'. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
The director of the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Emily Ansenk (R), and museum board Chairman Willem van Hassel (L) give a press conference on October 16, 2012 about the seven masterpieces, including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin, worth up to 200 million euros that were stolen from the facility in a pre-dawn heist. The stolen works are Pablo Picasso's 'Tete d'Arlequin', Henri Matisse's 'La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune', Claude Monet's 'Waterloo Bridge, London' and 'Charing Cross Bridge, London', Paul Gauguin's 'Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee', Meyer de Haan's 'Autoportrait' and Lucian Freud's 'Woman with Eyes Closed'. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
A guard walks in the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on October 17, 2012 a day after seven masterpieces worth up to 200 million euros were stolen from the museum in a pre-dawn heist. The stolen works are Pablo Picasso's 'Tete d'Arlequin', Henri Matisse's 'La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune', Claude Monet's 'Waterloo Bridge, London' and 'Charing Cross Bridge, London', Paul Gauguin's 'Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee', Meyer de Haan's 'Autoportrait' and Lucian Freud's 'Woman with Eyes Closed'. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
The director of the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Emily Ansenk (R), and museum board Chairman Willem van Hassel (L) give a press conference on October 16, 2012 about the seven masterpieces, including paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin, worth up to 200 million euros that were stolen from the facility in a pre-dawn heist. The stolen works are Pablo Picasso's 'Tete d'Arlequin', Henri Matisse's 'La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune', Claude Monet's 'Waterloo Bridge, London' and 'Charing Cross Bridge, London', Paul Gauguin's 'Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee', Meyer de Haan's 'Autoportrait' and Lucian Freud's 'Woman with Eyes Closed'. AFP PHOTO / ANP / ROBIN UTRECHT - netherlands out - (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)
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Romania's Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism said Sunday it was examining the circumstances of the discovery. On Monday, it declined to comment further.

Romania's National History Museum curator Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu told The Associated Press: "(even) if it is a forgery it needs to be scientifically dismantled."

Four Romanians were convicted in the 2012 heist of the painting and six others from the Kunsthal gallery in Rotterdam.

One of them, Olga Dogaru, told investigators she burned the paintings in her stove to protect her son, the alleged ringleader. She later retracted the statement.

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Mike Corder in the Hague, the Netherlands contributed to this report

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