Turkish police have recovered what they say is an original painting by 19th century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The police obtained the art piece in Istanbul on 30 January following a month-long undercover operation.

The alleged thieves were trying to sell the painting, titled Woman Dressing Her Hair, when the police caught them. The painting was stolen from a collector's home in New York, police said. The cops reportedly posed as potential buyers of the painting during the sting operation. The prospective sellers were quoting $8m (£5.6m) for the painting. The police negotiated to buy it at $7m (£4.9m), according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

The police met the sellers at a cafe and then at a yacht in an Istanbul marina, where two suspects were arrested, the report said. It is not clear when the painting was stolen from New York. The painting has been sent to Istanbul's Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University for examination, the police said.

The woman featured in the 1940 oil on canvas painting is Dora Maar, Picasso's lover and companion. The art piece is said to reflect the painter's deteriorating relationship with his long-time muse, depicted as grotesque with swollen belly, sagging ribcage, bulging torso and giant feet.