Authorities in Romania have arrested three men suspected of stealing paintings worth tens of millions of dollars late last year from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum.
Thieves made off with seven paintings, including works by Monet, Matisse, Picasso and Gauguin, in a brazen and meticulously planned operation last October.
A Bucharest district court made a ruling last month that allows authorities to hold the three men for 29 days, Reuters reported, citing the Romanian news agency Mediafax.
The seven masterpieces were stolen in a pre-dawn heist from Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, the biggest such theft in the Netherlands in more than two decades.
The stolen paintings were: Pablo Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin 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.”
It is the biggest art theft in The Netherlands since 20 paintings were stolen from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum in 1991.
Ten years ago a 1925 work by French master Henri Matisse disappeared from a Venezuelan museum, having been swapped, it was later learned, with a fake.
The work, “Odalisque a la culotte rouge” (Odalisque in Red Pants), only surfaced recently when two individuals tried to sell the painting, valued at $3 million.
FBI undercover agents busted Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzmanof Miami and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo of Mexico City during a Miami Beach sting this past summer.
The pair sought to peddle the work for $740,000, negotiating with undercover agents posing as buyers, and then arranged for the painting to be flown from Mexico to Miami by Ornelas, according to Reuters.
The two pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport and sell stolen property late last month, the US Attorney’s Office in Miami said in a statement.
Both told the agents they knew the post-Impressionist work was stolen, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported.
A watercolor by Post-Impressionist master Paul Cezanne, missing for nearly six decades before being found recently in Texas, fetched $19.12 million Tuesday at Christie’s auction house in New York.
The work, titled “A Card Player,” depicts Paulin Paulet, a gardener on the Cezanne family estate near Aix-en-Provence in France.
It was found in the private collection of the late Heinz Eichenwald, a medical doctor and art collector who emigrated to the United States in the mid-1930s and spent his career in Dallas.
The work was last seen in public in 1953, according to Agence France-Presse.
It had been known to scholars only as a black-and-white photograph since then.
A watercolor by Post-impressionist master Paul Cezanne, missing for nearly six decades, has been relocated and will be auctioned this spring in New York.
The work depicts Paulin Paulet, a gardener on the Cezanne family estate near Aix-en-Provence in France. It was known to scholars only as a black-and-white photograph.
It was unknown if the actual work still existed and, if it did, who owned it, according to the New York Times.
But the watercolor recently surfaced in the home of a Dallas collector and will be auctioned at Christie’s in New York on May 1, officials at the company said Monday.
It is expected to fetch up to $20 million.
“Cézanne’s images of workers on his family farm – pipe-smoking men sitting around a table, their expressions dour, their dress drab, absorbed in a game of cards – are among his most recognizable works,” according to the Times. “Some are pictured alone; others are shown in groups of two or more. Paulet is the only one of the figures to appear in all five paintings in the ‘Card Players’ series.”
A noted 1887 work by Vincent van Gogh long thought to have been a self-portrait of the famed Dutch painter is in fact a picture of his younger brother Theo, according to art researchers at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
“According to current opinion, Vincent van Gogh never painted his brother Theo, on whom he was dependent,” the Van Gogh Museum said in a statement.
But senior researcher Louis van Tilborgh now believed the painting of a man wearing a light-colored hat and a dark blue jacket (above) was actually Van Gogh’s brother Theo, Vincent’s junior by five years, according to new service Agence France-Presse.
“The conclusion is based on a number of obvious differences between the two brothers,” said the museum, pointing out dissimilar features including the neatness of the subject’s beard and his round-shaped ear, “something Vincent did not have.”
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art next month opens an exhibition titled “Cézanne’s Card Players,” a show that brings together for the first time the works from the French artist’s series of card player canvases, together with their associated oil studies and drawings.
Also included will be a carefully selected group of related paintings of peasants by the artist, several of which depict the same local models who appear in the card player compositions.
The exhibition,which runs in London through this weekend, marks the first time so many of the Post-Impressionist painter’s works on this subject have been brought together, according to The Economist.
Between 1890 and 1897 Cézanne created five versions of “The Card Players.” Three are included in the show. There are also preliminary studies for these paintings in watercolour, pencil and — unusually for him — oil, according to the publication. Works have been loaned from such disparate locations as Kansas and Moscow.