It is amazing to me that anyone is able to rob a modern museum, but that’s just what happened at the Kunsthal Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The museum was hosting an exhibition called the Avant-Gardes from the Triton Foundation, a collection of 150 pieces owned by Dutch businessman Willem Cordia and his wife Marijke. Fortunately, only 7 of the 150 pieces were stolen. Unfortunately, they were seven of the most valuable paintings in the world. Thieves stole a Picasso, a Matisse, a Gauguin, a de Haan, a Lucian Freud, and two Monets off the walls of a museum.
Director Emily Ansenk called the theft “a nightmare for any museum director” in a press conference about the missing work. She did not give a value to the works, but estimates vary from $10 million to significantly more. There were no guards on duty at the museum when it was robbed at 3 AM on Tuesday morning; the museum had multiple electronic security measures in place, but obviously that wasn’t good enough because some guys made off with all the valuable artwork with no problem.
Here’s my question: how do you get rid of stolen art? I can understand how you fence stolen gold, but wouldn’t it be tougher to get rid of famous paintings unless you had a buyer waiting before you stole the art?
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