In what’s being called one of “the biggest crimes in art history,” five masterpieces valued over $600 million were stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art yesterday. The theft of the missing paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque, and Leger were discovered earlier today. Museum officials first realized they were totally screwed when they noticed a smashed window and padlock that had been cut to gain access to the paintings. For reasons that are still unknown, the alarm system did not go off. Museum security cameras captured a lone, masked thief entering through the broken window in the night.
The stolen painting include Pigeon with Peas by Pablo Picasso, Pastoral by Henri Matisse, Olive Tree near Estaque by Georges Braque, Woman with a Fan by Amedeo Modigliani and Still Life with Chandeliers by Fernand Leger. The paintings are valued at some 500 million euros, which with today’s exchange rate, is about $620 million. But, of course, the thief probably won’t have to worry too much about exchange rates. Art experts say the highly recognizable paintings. would be “impossible to sell” on the open market. “The paintings could never be sold,” said art critic Louis Maillot. “They would be spotted instantly.”
What’s the motive then? Does Kim Jong Il have a sudden interest in fine art, perhaps to grace the cages of the Zimbabwean animals being sent over by Robert Mugabe. We don’t know much about selling art on the black market, so that’s our best guess.