A Romanian woman, who is the mother of one of the suspects arrested for the theft of over €100m worth of art from a Dutch museum, last Autumn has admitted to burning the canvases in order to destroy the evidence. The heist suspect torched the seven stolen masterpiece which, included 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 Mediafax news agency reported Tuesday.
Suspect Radu Doragu’s mother said, she burned the priceless artworks in an oven After the arrest of her son in January 2013, “I was very scared because I knew that what had happened was very serious,” Mrs Doragu told Romania’s Mediafax “I placed the suitcase containing the paintings in the stove. I put in some logs, slippers and rubber shoes and waited until they had completely burned.”
The theft occurred at the Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam on the 15th of October 2012, It closed the museum for several days as up to 25 officers were assigned to solve the case. Seven paintings, including a Picasso, a Matisse, 2 Monets a Gauguin and a portrait by Lucian Freud were taken in the break-in. This was the year of the museum’s twentieth anniversary and as a result it was presenting a valuable collection entitled ‘Avant-Gardes’, comprising works from the Triton Foundation. This exhibition marked the very first public showing of the carefully and lovingly assembled Triton Collection. Over the last twenty years, this private group of works had developed into one with an international reputation with pieces spanning from From Picasso to Lucian Freud. The collection comprised representative works by the most important and influential artists of the late nineteenth century to the present day.
Following the theft, the works were smuggled out of the Netherlands to Romania. The three suspects allegedly walked through the Romanian capital Bucharest with the paintings rolled up in a shopping bag, trying to sell them. When it became clear that they were too hot to handle, they burried them in a church yard before digging them up again and stashing them at one of the suspects mother’s house. Last May it was reported that the paintings were feared lost when police removed suspicious ashes from the home of one of the suspect’s mother.