Picasso Thefts in Sao Paulo

ABC News has some more on the thefts last week of Picasso’s Minotaur, Drinker and Women (1933), pictured here, and The Painter and the Model (1963). Also taken were works by two Brazilian artists, Women at the Window (1926) by Emiliano Augusto Cavalanti de Albuquerque Melo, and Couple (1919) by Lasar Segall. All four works were stolen from the Pinacoteca Museum by 3 men who paid their entrance fee, took the elevator to the second floor, drew their weapons and forced the guards to tell them where the four works were located.

Marcelo Araujo told the Folha De Sao Paulo newspaper that the security was appropriate, “In cases of armed robbery we can’t run the risk of resisting, because there could be unforeseeable consequences for the employees and for the public.” That is probably correct, and there is an inherent tension between keeping galleries an open space for the public versus protecting against armed robbery. Such robberies seem to be taking place with regularity in Sao Paulo though, which may make displaying art to the public more difficult there.

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Recovery in Sao Paulo

The AP is reporting that the two works stolen last month in Brazil have been recovered in Sao Paulo. The recovered works, Portrait of Suzanne Bloch, 1904 by Pablo Picasso and O Lavrador de Cafe, 1939 by Candido Portinari were recovered in a home on the outskirts of Sao Paulo on Tuesday. The works were stolen last month, by thieves using only crowbar and a car jack. Given that, are the assualt rifles, pistols, and bullet-proof jackets worn by guards at yesterday’s press conference necessary?

Julio Neves, the president of the Sao Paulo Museum of Art said the works are “in absolutely perfect condition”, and “[t]he museum is upgrading and improving its security system to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.” There is no word on how the works were recovered, as police are still investigation as “other suspects remain at large and providing details could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.” Given the comments of the city’s chief police inspector Mauricio Lemos Freire, it seems like they are investigating this as a theft-to-order, and are still going after the buyer who ordered the theft.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

Major Theft in Brazil

Thieves have stolen works by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art. The theft was made known early Thursday morning. The stolen Picasso is pictured here, Portrait of Suzanne Bloch, 1904. Early estimates place the monetary value of the stolen works at $100 million USD. However these are major works, the Picasso is from the artist’s blue period. Portinari is a major Brazilian artist. The AP story is here.

Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com