The Dutch police are investigating a large scale art robbery that took place at the Rotterdam Kunsthal on Tuesday at around 3am, local time on. Seven paintings by major modernist artists currently on view in the museum’s “Avant-Gardes” exhibition were stolen: Pablo Picasso’s “Tête d’Arlequin” (1971), Henri Matisse’s “la Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune” (1919), Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge, London “(1901) and “Charing Cross Bridge, London” (1901), Paul Gauguin’s “Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte ” (1888), Meyer de Haan’s “Autoportrait” (circa 1889 – ‘91) and Lucian Freud’s ‘Woman with Eyes closed “(2002).
Rotterdam police had little positive information to report in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, explaining it was not yet clear whether the crime had been committed by one or more perpetrators. Investigations did show, however, that they had been “well prepared” and had all the trademarks of a professional operation.
Kunsthal spokesperson Mariette Maaskant, who broke the news on Dutch radio Tuesday morning, later told ARTINFO, that the museum will remain closed until further notice and will not release any official statement until a full investigation has been conducted by the police.
The stolen paintings were among the 150 artworks the Dutch Triton Foundation had lent to the Kunsthal for their “Avant-Gardes” show which had opened on October 7 in celebration of the museum’s 20 anniversary.
— Lisa Contag