Good news if you hate art: there is none anymore. It has all been stolen.
Last night seven paintings, including works by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Paul Gauguin, were stolen from the Kunsthal Museum and Free Painting Stealing Emporium in Rotterdam. A spokesperson for the museum confirmed that the paintings taken were of "considerable value." "Considerable value" in this case is a soft way of saying "millions and millions and millions of dollars."
Dutch police are currently investigating videotapes of the theft which, when viewed in concert with the empty spaces on the museum walls where those paintings used to hang, will absolutely confirm that the paintings were taken. They're also calling for any witnesses to come forward, so if you happened be committing petty theft in the museum gift shop when this burglary took place at 3 a.m. last night, please call the police and share your story.
At the moment, police have released very little information about how the theft was accomplished, apart from this:
"An initial investigation suggests that the robbery was well prepared."
All of which suggests that the paintings will turn up a couple centuries from now on an episode of Antiques Roadshow: Pittsburgh ("I bought it in a thrift store for $9 because I wanted to spray paint the frame").
The paintings taken were part of an exhibition showcasing more than 150 artists, including Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, all on loan from the Triton Foundation (a collection of avant-garde art). This was the first time the entire collection had been shown together and also, coincidentally the last.
Here's a full list of the stolen works, in case you are a thief and need to take inventory:
- Picasso's 1971 "Harlequin Head"
- Monet's 1901 "Waterloo Bridge, London"
- Monet's 1901 "Charing Cross Bridge, London"
- Matisse's 1919 "Reading Girl in White and Yellow"
- Gauguin's 1898 "Girl in Front of Open Window"
- Meyer de Haan's "Self-Portrait," ca. 1890
- Lucian Freud's 2002 "Woman with Eyes Closed"
The Kunsthal retains no permanent collection of its own, instead serving as a display space for large-scale exhibitions. Now we know why.