Police: Thieves steal Picasso, Matisse, 3 other paintings from Paris modern art museum

By Angela Charlton, AP
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paintings worth $613M stolen from Paris museum

PARIS — A lone thief stole five paintings worth a total of half a billion euros, including works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist Thursday from a Paris modern art museum, police and prosecutors said.

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

A single masked intruder was caught on a video surveillance camera entering the museum by a window and taking thet paintings away, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Their collective worth is estimated at euro500 million ($613 million), the prosecutor’s office said.

The paintings were “Le pigeon aux petits-pois” (The Pigeon with the Peas) by Pablo Picasso, “Pastoral” by Henri Matisse, “Olive Tree near Estaque” by Georges Braque, “Woman with a Fan” by Amedeo Modigliani and “Still Life with Chandeliers” by Fernand Leger.

A woman who answered the phone at the museum said questions about the theft would only be answered by the office of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. Delanoe’s office did not immediately return calls for immediately comment.

Associated Press writer Greg Keller contributed to this report.

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