Picasso, Monet and Matisse among seven works stolen from Kunsthal

Seven paintings by leading artists and of ‘very considerable value’ were stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal art gallery in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Police and forensic experts are now combing the gallery for clues but a spokesman told RTL news it is still unclear how the thieves got into the building. Police were alerted to the theft after the security company reported an alarm going off. The burglary took place between 03.00 and 04.00 hours.
The paintings, all but one from the prestigious Triton Foundation collection, were on display as part of the gallery’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
London bridges
The stolen paintings include Pablo Picasso’s Tête d’Arlequin, Claude Monet’s views of Waterloo and Charing Cross bridges in London and Lucian Freud’s Woman with Eyes Closed (pictured). Other works are by Matisse, Gauguin and Meyer de Haan.
Former Kunsthal director Wim van Krimpen told Radio 1 many of the paintings in the Triton collection are worth over €1m but no official value for the haul has yet been given. Art historian Jhim Lamoree told RTL news the stolen works are worth ‘at least €100m’.


Claude Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge
The Kunsthal’s website describes the Triton collection as one which ‘comprises representative works by the most important and influential artists of the late nineteenth century to the present day’.
It is a private collection containing some 250 paintings, drawings and sculptures covering 170 influential artists.
Job Ubbens, director of Amsterdam auction house Christie’s, told ANP stolen art is very hard to sell and that the burglary is ‘a very stupid act’ if the thieves hope to make money from the paintings.
However, the paintings could have been stolen to order, he said. ‘In that case it will end up on a wall somewhere and never be seen again.’
A third option could be that the paintings will be held to ransom. That is the most likely option, Ubbens is quoted as saying.
Major haul
RTL news reports that the heist is one of the three biggest art thefts in the Netherlands of the past 20 yeears.
In 1991, 20 paintings were stolen from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum with an estimated value of €500m. They were found in a stolen car and three were very badly damaged.
In 1988, three Van Goghs with a value of €113m were taken from the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. They were also recovered in a damaged state and two men served 2.5 years in jail.
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