French customs officials have seized a Picasso painting worth 25 million euros from a boat moored in the Corsican port of Calvi.
There were concerns that it could be permanently removed from Spain in defiance of an export ban.
Officers boarded the vessel after French authorities in Corsica received a request for authorisation to export the painting to Switzerland, according to a spokesman.
The 1906 “Head of a Young Woman,” owned by Spanish banker Jaime Botin, has been impounded pending an expected request for its return to Spain.
It was not known how the painting turned up in Calvi.
In May, Spain’s High Court blocked a bid by Botin to export the Picasso to London following an application by auctioneer Christie’s.
In its ruling, the court declared the painting a Spanish national treasure.