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Athens Museum Robbed

A Picasso and a Mondrian disappear in no time from Greece's National Gallery
Athens art theftEnlarge
Police look for evidence at national Gallery of Greece following theft of paintings by Picasso and Mondrian (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

It took just seven minutes for thieves to remove Pablo Picasso's a "Woman's Head" and an early Piet Mondrian from the museum's walls, according to the report in eKathimerini. Police said the robbery took place at around 5 a.m.

"Woman's Head" was painted in 1939 and presented by the painter to the Greek people in the late 1940's in honor of their resistance to the Nazis. The Mondrian is an early figurative work, quite different from the colored in grids for which he is famous.

The museum has yet to put a price on the paintings but given what Picasso's of similar quality have sold for recently, $8 million in is a reasonable estimate.

The question is were these pictures stolen to order in a garden variety art heist? Or, given the perilous state of the Greek economy, are the thieves freelancing and hoping to offload them cheap just to put something in the kitty? The fact that they apparently cut another Mondrian from its frame and then left it behind makes me think it may well be the latter.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/europa/athens-museum-robbed