April 8, 2011

Revisiting the musée d'art moderne de la ville de paris: site of the theft in May 2010 of more than $100 million in paintings

Neighbor's graffiti
Interior view of windows

Last month in Paris, I revisited the musée d'art moderne de la ville de paris for the second time since the robbery of five paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Léger, and Modigliani on May 20. Last July the museum was humid and bolts on the interior metal shutters seem to have been replaced in at least one window. I speculated on the theft on the ARCA blog here. This March, the amount of graffiti surprised me. The apartment building next to the museum sported new graffiti unusual for this location.  Skateboarders outside the collection played amongst graffiti-marked statutes.  More prominent museums in Paris visited the same week did not exhibit signs of graffiti. Behind the museum, along the Seine and in view of the Eiffel Tower, graffiti covered the doors of basement entrances underneath the balcony the thief may have used to gain entrance before smashing the windows, cutting the paintings out of their frames and disappearing without notifying any security guards. Nothing has been published about the progress of the investigation and the paintings are still missing. -- Catherine Schofield Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

Graffiti marks statues outside the museum
Rear windows and balcony along the Seine
Graffiti marks basement doors of museum

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