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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-01-09

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Picasso one of two paintings stolen from National Gallery

  • [01] Picasso one of two paintings stolen from National Gallery

    AMNA--A work by Picasso was one of the at least two paintings stolen from the National Gallery in central Athens at dawn on Monday during a break-in, according to the Museum, while the second painting, believed to be a Mondrian, was also of immense value.

    The Picasso was identified as the 1939 "Woman's Head" that was presented as a gift to the Gallery by the artist himself in 1940, and the only Picasso work in the Gallery's collection.

    The second painting is believed two be a 1905 Mondrian, one of the two works by the artist in the Gallery's collection.amna

    Two paintings were stolen from the National Art Gallery in Athens in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, during a break-in, and a police investigation was immediately launched.

    Police said that the Gallery's alarm went off at 4:52 a.m. and the security guard, who was inside the building and had not been aware of anything suspicious up to that time, saw a man running out of the building.

    The guard immediately investigated the facilities and saw that two paintings were missing, and alerted police.amna

    An exhibition titled "Unknown Treasures from the National Gallery Collection" had just wound up at the Gallery, which closed to the public on Monday for restoration work.

    Police said the perpetrator(s) entered the building from the back side, breaking in through a mezzanine balcony door that he/they demolished, headed into the interior of the building and removed the two paintings from their frames.amna

    Police said the perpetrator(s) attempted to steal a third painting, but abandoned the effort.

    Police have taken footage from the museum's surveillance cameras for investigation.amna

    Statements were expected by police and by the Museum's director Marina Lambraki-Plaka in the early afternoon.

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