Monday, January 9, 2012

Picasso Work Stolen

Two paintings were stolen early this morning from the National Gallery, the biggest art museum in Athens. At 4.52am, the alarm of the gallery went off and the guard, who had not realised that a theft was underway, reportedly saw an unknown man running away from the building.
A painting by Picasso was one of the two paintings stolen from the National Gallery in Athens in central Athens at dawn on Monday during a break-in, according to the Museum, while the second painting is believed to be a 1905 Mondrian, one of the two works by the artist in the Gallery's collection.
The thieves escaped undetected, raising questions about how well-guarded the National Gallery actually is.
The Picasso is a 1934 work that was presented as a gift to the Gallery in the 1940s by a French association.
Police said the perpetrator(s) entered the building from the back side, breaking in through a mezzanine balcony door that he/they demolished, headed into the interior of the building and removed the two paintings from their frames.
It has been reported by police that the perpetrator(s) attempted to steal a third painting, but abandoned the effort.
Police have taken footage from the museum's surveillance cameras for investigation.
Statements are expected by police and by the Museum's director Myrsini Lambraki-Plaka in the early afternoon.

The gallery contains mostly 19th and 20th century Greek painting, but had just wound up a display of its western European collections that include prints and etchings by German master Albrecht Duerer and Rembrandt van Rijn. It had been due to close Monday for a long period of extension and refurbishment. The value of the paintings is unknown but reports from Skai have suggested that value is substantial.