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News: 100 Million Euro Art Heist

Le pigeon aux petits-poisEarly this morning at the Paris Modern Art Museum, one brazen thief stole five paintings right off the wall. The works include ‘Le pigeon aux petits-pois” (The Pigeon with the Peas) an ochre and brown Cubist oil painting by Pablo Picasso, valued an estimated €23 million, “La Pastorale” (Pastoral), an oil painting of nudes on a hillside by Henri Matisse about €15 million, “L’olivier près de l’Estaque” (Olive Tree near Estaque) by Georges Braque; “La femme a l’éventail” (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani; and “Nature-mort aux chandeliers” (Still Life with Chandeliers) by Fernand Léger.
The total value of the works is still being assessed but it is estimated that they are worth anywhere from 500-100 million euro. An image of a solitary masked man was caught on a surveillance camera. The heist was completed after the thief cut a back door lock, broke a window and disabled the security system.
From the New York Times “Alice Farren-Bradley of the Art Loss Registry in London said the Paris theft ‘appears to be one of the biggest’ art heists ever, considering the estimated value, the prominence of the artists and the high profile of the museum.”
The director of the neighboring modern art museum Palais de Tokyo, Pierre Cornette de Saint-Cyr, called the thief or thieves ”fools. You cannot do anything with these paintings. All countries in the world are aware, and no collector is stupid enough to buy a painting that, one, he can’t show to other collectors, and two, risks sending him to prison. In general, you find these paintings,” he said. ”These five paintings are un-sellable, so thieves, sirs, you are imbeciles, now return them.” While a nice thought, high-end art is often sold on the black market for near regular market value to unscrupulous collectors. The great heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in which a Rembrandt and Vermeer were stolen, is still unsolved after 21 years.
The Paris Modern Art Museum is currently closed while police and Interpol investigate.
Paris Modern Art Museum
11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France‎ – 01 53 67 40 00‎
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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 Fenway, Boston, MA 02115 – (617) 566-1401
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