Daring Dutch art heist nets Monets, Picasso and more

10/16/2012
REUTERS
Netherlands-Art-Heist

The empty space where Henri Matisse' painting "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" was hanging, right, is seen at Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

AP

The empty space where Henri Matisse' painting
The empty space where Henri Matisse' painting "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune" was hanging, right, is seen at Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

AMSTERDAM — Thieves made off with paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and other famous modern artists from a museum in Rotterdam, Dutch police said on Tuesday.

Paintings by Paul Gauguin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan, were also on a list of seven paintings stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum overnight, police said on their website.

Neither the police nor the Kunsthal were immediately able to put a value on the haul, but the theft is one of the art world’s most dramatic in recent years and will likely be worth millions.

Kunsthal, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, does not have its own collection and exhibits different types of art, including photos, sculptures, design and fashion.

It had only just opened a new exhibition a few days ago to celebrate its 20th anniversary, including paintings by Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondriaan, Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Freud, and others showing examples of impressionism, expressionism, and other modern art movements.

More than 150 paintings on display in the exhibit came from the privately owned Triton Foundation collection, and many of the works are worth a million euros or more, Kunsthal’s former executive Wim van Krimpen told Dutch public radio station Radio 1.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger, editing by Paul Casciato) REUTERSŒ