Picasso, Monet stolen from Dutch museum

Seven masterpieces, including priceless works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin, were stolen in a night heist at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum, the biggest such theft in decades.

“On Tuesday morning seven artworks were stolen from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. In consultation with the owners the police can now release their photos,” police said in a statement after initially declining to name the works.

“A major investigation is under way and forensics are at the scene,” Rotterdam police spokeswoman Patricia Wessels told AFP. “We’re investigating how they got access, what time it happened and who did it.”

Dutch state television showed a police forensic team dusting one of the Kunsthal’s outer doors for fingerprints. The museum’s director is flying back from Turkey after hearing news of the theft, television said.

The NOS broadcaster said the haul was worth “millions and millions of euros (dollars)”, but the paintings are so famous that it will be difficult to get anything like their real value on the black market.It is the biggest art theft in The Netherlands since 20 paintings were stolen from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh museum in 1991. The paintings are Pablo Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Henri Matisse’s “La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge, London” and others.

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