A painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir sold in February at Sotheby's auction house in London for a little more than £1 million (around ¥150 million).

The price set no records and the work is not especially famous, but what has now made this sale notable is that the painting appears to have been stolen from a Japanese collector more than 10 years ago.

In August 2000 the unnamed collector told the police that Renoir's "Madame Valtat" and five other expensive paintings had been stolen from his residence. Little was heard about the stolen paintings until "Madame Valtat" was listed for a Feb. 5 auction of impressionist art.