Greek police announced late Monday that they have recovered a Pablo Picasso painting, which was stolen in January 2012 from the Athens National Gallery.

Picasso’s 1939 painting “Woman’s Head,” as well as Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s 1905 piece “Stammer Mill with Summer House,” and a pen-and-ink sketch from 16th-Century Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia, had all been stolen in the heist.

A 49-year-old construction worker was arrested for the theft. Police said Tuesday that the man confessed to the theft and explained that he had planned the raid for six months. He had recently ditched the works of art in a dry bed river. Greek police found the paintings wrapped in plastic sheets and hidden near a river outside Athens.

The National Gallery has been closed since March 2013 due to expansion work, with delays from the pandemic as well. It reopened in March 2021.

"This painting is of special importance and emotional value as the great painter personally dedicated it to the Greek people for their struggle against fascist and Nazi occupying forces and bears his hand-written dedication," Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said.

She said that "it would be immediately identified as being stolen from the National Gallery" if anyone tried to sell it.

Picasso gifted it to the museum and inscribed on the back, “For the Greek people, a tribute from Picasso."

“Recovering the works of Picasso and Mondrian is a major success,” Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said.

“The police worked systematically, in a collaborative and creative way, and they should be commended for that. At the new National Gallery, the paintings will be given the place they deserve.”

Details were not released on how police were able to retrieve the lost paintings, only that the suspect was being questioned from a claim that the Caccia piece was damaged the day of the break-in.

It was also noted that the pieces were dumped following reports in the Greek news media that authorities were about to close in on an arrest.

Culture Minister Mendoni did not announce yet when the recovered paintings would go back on display.