Friday, October 19, 2012

Rotterdam Art Heist Nets Work by Picasso, Matisse

Paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, Meyer de Haan, Lucian Freud and two by Monet were stolen on Tuesday from a gallery in Rotterdam in what will rank as one of the most spectacular art heists of modern times.

The dawn raid at the Kunsthal museum in the Netherlands' second largest city was described by police as a well-planned and bold operation. Security experts speculated that the thieves might have taken advantage of Rotterdam's port – one of the largest in the world – to swiftly move the paintings abroad. While police were reluctant to put a price tag on the stolen paintings, experts said it ran into tens of millions of pounds.

One security expert described the museum, designed by the star Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, as a "gem of a gallery", but a "nightmare to protect", and suggested that thieves spent months plotting the robbery.

The works were named by the museum's management on Tuesday afternoon, as Pablo Picasso's Harlequin Head; Henri Matisse's Reading Girl in White and Yellow; Claude Monet's Waterloo Bridge, London, and Charing Cross Bridge, London; Paul Gauguin's Girl in Front of Open Window, De Haan's Self-Portrait and Freud's Woman with Eyes Closed.

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painters and poets

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