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Stolen Picasso Matisse and Modigliani destroyed In Cover Up - ArtLyst Article image

Stolen Picasso Matisse and Modigliani destroyed In Cover Up

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Thieves cut up and crush 100 million worth of modern art

Five paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Leger ,Braque and Modigliani stolen from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, were allegedly destroyed by the thieves in order to cover up the crime. The paintings estimated to be worth around 100m euros (£86m; $123m) with titles, Dove with Green Peas by Pablo Picasso (painted in 1911), Pastoral by Henri Matisse (1906), Olive Tree near l'Estaque by Georges Braque (1906), Woman with Fan by Amedeo Modigliani (1919) and Still Life with Candlestick by Fernand Leger (1922) are top examples of the artists work. They were stolen from a highly regarded museum, close to the Eiffel Tower 2 years ago. Investigators have now arrested four suspects .Security cameras caught footage showing someone entering the museum through a window during the night. The thief was able to climb into the capital's Musée d'Art Moderne after breaking a padlock on the window, cut the canvases from their frames and rremove them by rolling them up. The faulty alarm system didnt alert three guards who were sleeping. Le Monde reported that the paintings were so well-known that it would be difficult to sell them on the open market. Previous thefts have involved paintings being stolen to order on behalf of private collectors and it seems the Leger was offered to a Paris dealer. After a lengthly investigation three suspects have now been apprehended. A man described as Jonathan B, a small time watch dealer told detectives that he ‘panicked and destroyed the canvasses before throwing them into a rubbish bin’. They ended up in a crusher rubbish collection van and were destroyed, the 34-year-old said. A Serbian known as Vrejan T was arrested five months ago for the theft. Vrejan T is said to have turned on the third suspect  Paris art dealer Jean- Michel C – after the 56-year-old failed to give him £36,000 for the Leger. This came to light today in the Telegraph.

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