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Friday, May 21, 2010

Five Paintings Worth €100 Million Stolen From The Museum of Modern Art (Paris, France)

A CCTV footage shows a man breaking a padlock and forcing his entrance through a window into the Museum of Modern Art in Paris during the overnight of May 19 to May 20, 2010.
Although the museum had a recent alarm system upgrade and three wardens, the perpetrator managed to escape with five masterpieces seamlessly removed from their frames.
Official authorities admit that more people may be involved in this crime.
The five stolen paintings are "Olive Tree near l'Estaque" by Georges Braque (1906), "Pastoral" by Henri Matisse (1906), "Dove with Green Peas" by Pablo Picasso (1911), "Woman with Fan" by Amedeo Modigliani (1919) and "Still Life with Candlestick" by Fernand Leger (1922).
The two most valuable are "Dove With Green Peas" ( Le Pigeon aux Petits Pois ) by Pablo Picasso, valued at €25 million, and "Pastoral" (Pastorale) by Henri Matisse, valued at an estimated €20 million.
With a total estimated value of €92 million (according to the museum books), this art theft is one of the worst in the history of stolen art in France and the biggest since the 1990 theft in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, when "The Concert" by Vermeer, several Rembrants, Degas and other masterpieces were stolen and remain yet to be recovered.
Since it's virtually impossible to sell famous stolen artworks to museums or for auction, this kind of crime may be perpretaded with the intention of trading the paintings in the black market for goods such as drugs or weapons, or may be used to try to extort money from insurance companies, which may be willing to recover stolen goods at a fraction of their value, avoiding the payment of full compensations to the rightful owners.
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