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Paintings By Picasso, Matisse Swiped From Museum – NPR

May 20

A lone thief stole five paintings possibly worth more than half a billion dollars, including major works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist at a Paris modern art museum, police and prosecutors said Thursday.

The paintings disappeared early Thursday from the Paris Museum of Modern Art, across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower. Investigators have cordoned off the museum, in one of the French capital’s most tourist-frequented neighborhoods.

The museum’s security system was disabled, and a single masked intruder was caught on a video surveillance camera, according to Christophe Girard, deputy culture secretary at Paris City Hall.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the intruder was operating alone, Girard told reporters. He said three guards were on duty overnight but “they saw nothing.” The intruder entered by cutting a padlock on a gate and breaking a museum window, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

He said Le pigeon aux petits-pois (The Pigeon with the Peas) an ochre and brown Cubist oil painting by Pablo Picasso, was worth an estimated euro23 million, and La Pastorale (Pastoral), an oil painting of nudes on a hillside by Henri Matisse about euro15 million.

The other paintings stolen were L’olivier pres de l’Estaque (Olive Tree near Estaque) by Georges Braque; La femme a l’eventail (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani; and Nature-mort aux chandeliers (Still Life with Chandeliers) by Fernand Leger.

Full Article: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127007414&ft=1&f=1001

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