October 16, 2012

Early morning art theft at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam

CNN: "An investigator searches the Rotterdam Kunsthal
 museum after a pre-dawn break-in on October 16, 2012.
  Photo by AFP/Getting Images".
By Lynda Albertson, ARCA CEO

Limited news coming out on the theft early this morning at the Kunsthal, an art gallery in Rotterdam.  Police are reviewing videotape footage from the museum and are asking for any possible witnesses to the crime to please contact them.

According to Ben Brumfield reporting for CNN ("Famous modern art stolen from museum in the Netherlands") with a contribution from Journalist Dominique Van Heerden:
The Kunsthal's alarm system went off shortly after 3 a.m. local time, alerting the exhibition hall's private security detail.  When security staffers arrived by car, they saw that the paintings were missing, Rotterdam police spokesman Roland Ekkers said.  They informed police, who started an investigation.
The Association Press via NPR ("Picasso, Matisse, Monets Stolen from Dutch Museum") reports:
Seven paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet were stolen ... The theft at the Kunsthal museum is one of the largest in years in the Netherlands, and is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time.
The stolen works were Picasso's 1971 "Harlequin Head"; Monet's 1901 "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London"; Henri Matisse's 1919 "Reading Girl in White and Yellow"; Paul Gaugin's 1898 "Girl in Front of Open Window"; Meyer de Haan's "Self-Portrait," around 1890, and Lucian Freud's 2002 work "Women with Eyes Closed".
The museum's director Emily Ansenk had been in Istanbul, Turkey, on business but was returning Tuesday.
The Kunsthal (above, photo provided by Kunsthal) was
designed by Rem Koolhaas/Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Part of the twentieth anniversary celebrating the Kunsthal art gallery, the exhibition ‘Avant-Gardes' (which opened October 7) displayed works from the Triton Foundation assembled by the now deceased shipping industrialist, Willem Cordia and his wife Marijk Cordia-Van der Laan.   According to ARTnews the Triton Foundation collection belongs to the global top 200 most important collections.

Through the Kunsthal website, Willem van Hassel, Chairman of the Board, wrote in "Theft in the Kunsthal":
Due to the theft which occurred in the Kunsthal Rotterdam last night, the Kunsthal is closed to the public today. All contacts with the press run through the Information Department of the police (+31 10 - 274 8107). Concerning the ongoing investigation, no further statements will be made until further notice.
Reporter Charles Onians for AFP ("Picasso, Monet, Matisse stolen from Dutch museum") reports that Rotterdam police are collecting forensic evidence at the scene of the art heist and describes the robbery as "well-prepared" in a quiet area of the Rotterdam museum park.  The AFP lists the seven stolen paintings:
Pablo Picasso's "Tete d'Arlequin"
Henri Matisse's "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune"
Claude Monet's "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross, London"
Paul Gaugin's "Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, dite La Fiancee"
Meyer de Haan's "Autoportrait"
Lucian Freud's "Woman with Eyes Closed".

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