Monet and Picasso paintings stolen
Seven valuable paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Lucian Freud have been stolen from a museum in Rotterdam.
Police said the paintings were stolen from the Dutch city's Kunsthal museum overnight.
"Preliminary findings show the burglary was well-prepared," the Rotterdam-Rijnmond police district said in a statement on its website. It said the theft took place at about 3.00am local time.
The paintings were part of an exhibition called Avant-Gardes," which opened on October 7th and comprised more than 150 pieces from the private Triton Foundation collection, many of which were worth over a million euro.
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.
The list of paintings on the Dutch police website were:
Pablo Picasso: Tete d'Arlequin
Henri Matisse: la Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune
Claude Monet: Waterloo Bridge, London
Claude Monet: Charing Cross Bridge, London
Paul Gauguin: Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte
Meyer de Haan: Autoportrait (circa 1889 - '91)
Lucian Freud: Woman with Eyes Closed (2002)
Kunsthal, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and opened in 1992, 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.
Last night's theft follows an incident in Paris in May 2010, when five paintings together worth about €100 million, also including works by Picasso and Matisse, were stolen from the Musee d'Art Moderne in Paris.
The Triton Foundation collection was started by Willem Cordia and consists of about 250 paintings, drawings and sculptures by artists from the period 1860 to 1970, according to Dutch news agency ANP. Cordia, a former supervisory board chairman at Smit Internationale NV, died last year.