17 Oct 2012

Picasso, Monet works stolen in museum heist

7:47 am on 17 October 2012

Thieves have stolen paintings by artists including Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin from a museum in Rotterdam.

Police in the Netherlands said the works were taken from the Kunsthal Museum early on Tuesday morning.

The paintings include Monet's Waterloo Bridge, Picasso's Tete d'Arlequin, Matisse's La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune and Lucian Freud's Woman with Eyes Closed.

The museum is showing works from the Triton Foundation as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations.

Museum spokeswoman Patricia Wessels told the AFP news agency that police were alerted during the night when the alarm went off but that the thief, or thieves, had left the premises by the time police arrived.

It is the biggest art theft in the Netherlands since 20 paintings were stolen from Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum in 1991, the BBC reports