The Chagall Windows in the Abbell Synagogue a
The Chagall Windows in the Abbell Synagogue aFlash 90

A painting by Marc Chagall stolen from an American yacht anchored in Italy has been recovered more than a decade later in a private collector's home, Italy's art theft police division said on Monday, according to the AFP news agency.

The Russian-born Jewish painter's "Le Nu au Bouquet" was stolen in 2002 while the boat was being repaired in the port of Savona in northern Italy and was replaced with a forgery.

The work, which was bought by an unnamed wealthy American national for his yacht in 1998, is valued at more than $1.3 million (1.0 million euros).

Three people -- two Romanians who worked on the yacht at the time and a gallery owner from Bologna -- are under investigation, Italian media reported.

Police were first alerted when the man's heir travelled to Italy to recover the yacht following his death and discovered the painting was a fake.

The police said they first heard about the painting in 2012 during an investigation on traffic in stolen art through a gallery in Bologna.

According to police, the collector from Turin had bought the painting in 2003 “in good faith” and the thieves had even obtained an official authentication.