Greece: Police recover Picasso and Mondrian paintings stolen from Athens museum in 2012

Greek police say they have recovered two paintings by 20th century masters Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian, nearly a decade after their theft from the country’s biggest state art gallery in Athens.

A statement late Monday said the two works were in the hands of the police, but provided no detail on their condition and on whether any arrests had been made.

The paintings were stripped from their frames during a well-organized, overnight heist at the National Art Gallery on Jan. 9 2012. The burglars had also taken a pen and ink drawing of a religious scene by Italian 16th century painter Guglielmo Caccia. They had initially grabbed a fourth work, also by Mondrian, but abandoned it as they fled.

Police said at the time that the heist was completed in about seven minutes.

The stolen Picasso was a cubist female bust which the Spanish painter had donated to Greece in 1949 with a dedication “in homage to the Greek people” for their resistance to Nazi German occupying forces during World War II.

Greece’s National Art Gallery in Athens, in January 2011. Police say they have recovered Picasso and Mondrian paintings stolen from the gallery in 2012. – Copyright AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

The thieves also took a 1905 representational oil painting of a riverside windmill by Mondrian, the Dutch painter who became famous for his later, abstract linear works.

Head of a Woman’, gifted by Pablo Picasso to Greece in 1949. – Pic credit @ National Gallery

‘Head of a Woman’, gifted by Pablo Picasso to Greece in 1949, was recovered in the rural area of Keratea, some 45 kilometres (28 miles) southeast of Athens, state agency ANA said.

Another stolen painting, Piet Montrian’s ‘Stammer Windmill’, was also found, the agency said.


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