Picasso painting stolen from Athens gallery

LAST UPDATED: 24 Jan, 2012 @ 15:49
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Picasso painting stolen from Athens gallery

A PAINTING by one of Spain’s most famous artists has been stolen in a well-organised heist at Greece’s biggest art museum.

Burglars broke into Athens’ National Art Gallery in a pre-dawn raid and made off with Pablo Picasso’s 1939 Woman’s Head as well as Mill by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.

A third work of art by Italian painter Guglielmo Caccia was also taken and Mondrian’s 1905 painting Landscape was dropped on the floor as the thieves made their getaway.

The value of the pieces has not been revealed but the Picasso – donated by the artist himself in 1949 ‘in homage to the Greek people’ for their resistance to Nazi occupiers during World War II – is thought to be worth at least several hundred thousand euros.

To mislead the guard, the burglars intentionally set off the gallery’s alarm system several times before entering the building through a balcony door at 4:30am.

They still triggered a sensor in the exhibition area, but a guard only got there in time to see a man running off.

“After the alarm went off the guard discovered that the two paintings were missing. Another was lying on the floor,” explained a police spokesman.

“It all happened in seven minutes.”

The theft occurred on the final day of an exhibition called Unknown Treasures, which also included works by German artist Albrecht Duerer and Rembrandt.

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