A Dutch gallery’s 20th-anniversary celebration went horribly wrong when seven paintings, including works by Picasso, Matisse and Monet were stolen.
Rotterdam’s Kunsthal was robbed in the early morning hours of Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Police have not yet revealed how the heist took place, but the thieves managed to steal works, with an estimated combined value worth more than $100 million.
The stolen paintings were Pablo Picasso’s 1971 Harlequin Head; Claude Monet’s 1901 Waterloo Bridge, London and Charing Cross Bridge, London; Henri Matisse’s 1919 Reading Girl in White and Yellow; Paul Gauguin’s 1898 Girl in Front of Open Window; Meyer de Haan’s Self-Portrait, around 1890; and Lucian Freud’s 2002 work Woman with Eyes Closed, according to a report in the Associated Press. It appears that the perpetrators targeted specific valuable pieces from the collection and knew exactly what they were looking for. “Those thieves got one hell of a haul,” said Chris Marinello, director of the Art Loss Register, an international database.
The paintings stolen from the gallery were part of the private Triton Foundation collection, owned by multimillionaire Willem Cordia and his wife, Marijke Cordia–Van der Laan. The collection was being shown as a whole for the first time when the robbery occurred. The paintings have already been registered as stolen, rendering them virtually impossible to sell anywhere other than the criminal black market where they would garner only a fraction of their true value.
Police spokeswoman Willemieke Romijn told the Associated Press that investigators were reviewing videotapes of the theft, which took place around 3 a.m. local time, and calling for any witnesses to come forward.
The theft is one of the largest such crimes in years in the Netherlands.