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Paintings stolen from Paris museum

Among the paintings stolen yesterday was “La femme a l’eventail’’ (“Woman with a Fan’’) by Amedeo Modigliani. Among the paintings stolen yesterday was “La femme a l’eventail’’ (“Woman with a Fan’’) by Amedeo Modigliani.
Associated Press / May 21, 2010

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PARIS — A thief stole five paintings valued at more than $100 million, including major works by Picasso and Matisse, in an overnight heist yesterday at a Paris modern art museum with a broken alarm system, officials said.

The paintings disappeared early yesterday from the Paris Museum of Modern Art, across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower in one of the French capital’s most chic and tourist-frequented neighborhoods.

The museum’s alarm system had been broken since March 30 in some rooms, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe of Paris said in a statement. The security system operator ordered spare parts to fix it but had not yet received the equipment from the supplier, the statement said.

The museum reopened in 2006 after spending $19.04 million and three years upgrading its security system.

Christophe Girard, deputy culture secretary at Paris City Hall, said a single masked intruder was caught on a video surveillance camera.

He said “Le pigeon aux petits-pois’’ (“The Pigeon with the Peas’’), an ochre and brown Cubist oil painting by Pablo Picasso, was worth an estimated $29.2 million, and “La Pastorale’’ (“Pastoral’’), an oil painting of nudes on a hillside by Henri Matisse about $19.04 million.

The other paintings stolen were “L’olivier pres de l’Estaque’’ (“Olive Tree near Estaque’’) by Georges Braque; “La femme a l’eventail’’ (“Woman with a Fan’’) by Amedeo Modigliani; and “Nature morte aux chandeliers’’ (“Still Life with Chandeliers’’) by Fernand Leger.

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