Stolen Picasso painting reappears in Romania six years after art heist

Circumstances around theft of seven artworks worth millions of euros remain unknown

Luiza Ilie
Sunday 18 November 2018 17:51
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Works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others were stolen from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on 16 October 2012
Works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others were stolen from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam on 16 October 2012

A painting believed to be "Tete d'Arlequin” by Pablo Picasso stolen in 2012 from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum has turned up in Romania, prosecutors said on Sunday.

In one of the art world’s most dramatic heists, thieves made off with seven paintings, worth millions of euros, by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and others.

While the Romanian ringleader and his accomplices were convicted of the theft in 2013, none of the artworks had been recovered and Romanian experts believed at least three of them had been burned in an attempt to destroy evidence.

"Anti-organised crime prosecutors are investigating the circumstances under which a painting signed by Picasso worth roughly 800,000 euros ($913,440) was found on Saturday evening in Tulcea county," they said in a statement, adding that the painting is being authenticated.

They said two Dutch citizens arrived at the Netherlands Embassy in Bucharest with the painting, saying they had found it in the south-eastern Romanian county.

Security camera footage released at the time of the theft showed a gang entering through a back door of the museum and disappearing from view. Seconds later they reappeared carrying bulky objects.

The other stolen works were Matisse's "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune", Monet's "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London", Gauguin's "Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte", Meijer De Haan's "Autoportrait" and Lucian Freud’s "Woman with Eyes Closed".

Reuters

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