AMSTERDAM – Thieves broke into a Rotterdam museum on Tuesday and walked off with works from the likes of Picasso, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse potentially worth hundreds of millions.
Police haven’t said how they pulled off the early hours heist, but an expert who tracks stolen art said the robbers clearly knew what they were after.
“Those thieves got one hell of a haul,” said Chris Marinello, who directs the Art Loss Register.
The heist at the Kunsthal museum is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time.
“It’s every museum director’s worst nightmare,” said Kunsthal director Emily Ansenk.
She declined to reveal any details of how the thieves got in and out with the paintings, or how the museum is protected, other than describing its security as “state of the art” and “functional.”
Interpol sent a bulletin alerting member countries to the theft, along with images of the stolen paintings.
They were: Pablo Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin’s 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.”