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Picasso stolen from Brazilian Museum!
Posted by TK on 12/23/2007 10:49:05 AM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch, and The Coffee Worker by Brazil's Candido Portinari, were stolen from the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo in a brazen theft at dawn. It took thieves just three minutes as the guards inside were going through their shift change. Security cameras show three men entering the museum with a crow bar and a car jack at 5:09 am, grabbing the two paintings from different rooms, and exiting at 5:12am.

The news website of O Globo said that, according to the museum's press service, "the two works are estimated to be worth more than $US100 million".

Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch, painted in his Blue Period, is a representation of a Belgian opera singer who was a friend of the Spanish artist. He painted the 65cm by 54cm work in 1904. The Coffee Worker (O Lavrador de Cafe) by Portinari shows a coffee plantation worker and was painted on a 100cm by 81cm canvas in 1939. The artist, known for his neo-realism, is considered one of Brazil's most influential artists. He has a work entitled “War and Peace” hanging at the United Nations in New York.

A statement from museum officials said the institution had not suffered such a robbery in its 60-year history. The two works were on display on the second floor, but in different rooms, fuelling speculation that it was a job executed by professionals. Art experts, however, disagree, since the gang ignored other highly valuable works by Renoir, Rembrandt and Degas, among others. A popular theory is that the gang took these specific pieces for a wealthy private collector. Brazilian police and Interpol are working on leads.

Pablo Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch
The Coffee Worker by Brazil's Candido Portinari
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