Thursday, February 21, 2008

Art Theft: Sao Paulo Museum of Art

Pablo Picasso created a lot of artwork. I mean thousands of paintings and sketches. Because of this, and because of the value of the paintings, Picasso’s work is among the most often stolen. I had a difficult time choosing just one Picasso theft but I think it’s an interesting one. Tomorrow’s post may also be about a Picasso theft. I’m not sure yet.

In December of 2007, thieves broke into the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil. The thieves wrenched open the door with a hydraulic jack. They broke the glass on the interior door and slipped in. It took them just three minutes to pull a Picasso (Portrait of Suzanne Bloch) and a Candido Portinari (a premier Brazilian artist) off the museum walls.

Once again, it is unclear what the thieves hoped to gain from the theft. They passed many other very valuable pieces so it seems likely that they were commissioned by a private collector to steal the artwork on his or her behalf.

Perhaps the most important thing about this theft is that it brought to light the security problems the museum had. Sao Paulo Museum of Art had been struggling with money and had not been able to keep up with needed security improvements. Who knows if this will bring about a change? Hopefully the government of Brazil or some generous art lover will donate money to help out this important Brazilian museum.

Don’t forget to check out installments one, two, and three of this series on art theft.

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