A major art theft which occurred at the Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam last night, has closed the museum until further notice. It is now thought that 7 paintings, including a Picasso, a Matisse, 2 Monets a Gauguin and a portrait by Lucian Freud were taken in the break-in. This is 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 goup of works has developed into one with an international reputation with pieces spanning from From Picasso to Lucian Freud. The collection comprises representative works by the most important and influential artists of the late nineteenth century to the present day.
In close collaboration with the Triton Foundation, over a hundred and fifty works of international top quality were selected from over one hundred different artists from the vanguard, avant-garde and Western art movements. Works can be seen by great innovators such as Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondriaan and Yves Klein, as well as other avant-gardists who departed from the prevailing artistic rules adhered to by their predecessors and went on to experiment with new forms of expression. These artists include George Braque, Francis Picabia, Willem de Kooning, Elsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and many others. Enhanced with works by great masters such as Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, the Avant-Gardes exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of developments in modern art.
The exhibition covered works from almost every significant art movement, from Impressionist work by Monet to the Expressionism of Max Beckmann and the Cubist imagery of Juan Gris. Work can also be seen by artists from lesser known movements such as Les Nabis, which included Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard, and by the Russian Constructivists Wassily Kandinsky and El Lissitsky. Visual associations and unusual combinations of paintings, drawings and images featuring similarities in style, material or character serve as the leitmotif of this exhibition. Such combinations allow the exhibition to illustrate the unlimited scope and expressiveness of visual art across time. Examples include a modest selection of works by Gauguin, Bonnard and Hans Bellmer, a surprising combination of pieces by Emil Nolde and Alex Katz, and the odd but appealing couple that Andy Warhol and Marc Quinn make.
The Triton Foundation makes its existing collection and new material accessible to the general public. By generously loaning works from the collection to museums and temporary exhibitions all over the world, and for lengthy periods of time, all the works from the collection can be seen in public.
The museum is not releasing the information to the press until a full investigation is made by the police. The website states: Due to the theft which occurred in the Kunsthal Rotterdam last night, the Kunsthal is closed to the public today. All contacts with the press run through the Information Department of the police (+31 10 – 274 8107). Concerning the ongoing investigation, no further statements will be made until further notice.
Willem van Hassel, Chairman of the Board.
We will add to this story as the information is made available.
Illustrated: Picasso, Freud, Fontana from the Triton Foundation collection.
The works stolen have now been identified as:
• Picasso, Tete d’Arlequin
• Matisse, La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune
• Monet, Waterloo Bridge, London
• Monet, Charing Cross Bridge, London
• Gauguin, Femme Devant une Fenetre Ouverte, Dite la Fiancé
• De Haan, Autoportrait (circa 1889-91)
• Freud, Woman with Eyes Closed (2002) Illustrated