Experts had assumed the message was graffiti or a jab at the famously anguished artist.
“Head of a Bearded Man” has spent decades in the basement of the Ashmolean Museum.
The 21,000-square-foot painting is expected to be auctioned off this December.
Opening on July 16, the show explores how different artworks digest the past.
The stolen painting was one of the artist’s earliest works.
The small still life will be raffled off next month.
Apparently, thieves have their own kind of buyer’s remorse.
A $66 Million Gustav Klimt Painting Stolen 23 Years Ago Was Just Discovered—Inside a Wall of the Museum It Disappeared From
The painting was found by a gardener clearing ivy at the Ricci Oddi Modern Art gallery.
Expected to fetch $6.6 million at auction, ‘Christ Mocked’ was discovered hanging in the kitchen of a woman living in the French town of Compiegne.