romania-1Romanian History Museum director Ernest Oberlaender-Tarnoveanu (C) speaks during a press conference at the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest on August 8, 2013. Romanian experts sifting through ashes that could contain charred debris of masterpieces stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum have identified fragments typical of burnt oil paintings, the museum carrying out the analysis said Thursday. Six Romanians will stand trial in August for what has been called the “theft of the century”. The works stolen include Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU.
BUCHAREST (AFP).- Experts investigating the theft of seven masterpieces said Thursday they had found the burned remains of at least three oil paintings at the Romanian home of the chief suspect’s mother. Olga Dogaru admitted torching the stolen artworks, including two Monets and a Picasso, to destroy evidence against her son. Prosecutors say the seven paintings were worth 18 million euros ($24 million), although experts have put their collective value at over 100 million euros. She later retracted her statement, but Romanian art experts say they have discovered traces of three or four paintings in ashes taken from a wood-burning stove in her home. Ernest Oberlaender-Tarnoveanu, head of Romania’s National History Museum which analysed the ashes, said he could not be sure the paintings were those swiped from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum last October. “The number and the type of nails we found (in the ashes) indicate that we have at least three paintings there. There are also tacks that could belong to a fourth one,” he told a press conference. “We found remains of burned oil paintings, but whether they are the ones that were stolen is a separate question, to be determined by prosecutors and judges.” Olga Dogaru, her son Radu and four other Romanians go on trial on Tuesday in Bucharest over the audacious heist, which has been called the “theft of the century”. It took the thieves just a pair of pliers and less than three minutes and to break into the museum and snatch the masterpieces, according to the indictment. Four of the stolen canvases were oil paintings, while the other three — including Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Picasso’s “Tête d’Arlequin” — would be impossible to identify if burned as they were either pastel or coloured ink on paper, Oberlaender-Tarnoveanu said.
N_1-098fb526-ccceBUCHAREST.- An image showing old copper and iron nails used to fix canvas on the wooden frame of paintings is shown during a press conference at the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest on August 8, 2013. Romanian experts sifting through ashes that could contain charred debris of masterpieces stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum have identified fragments typical of burnt oil paintings, the museum carrying out the analysis said Thursday. Six Romanians will stand trial in August for what has been called the “theft of the century”. The works stolen include Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU.
romania-2An image showing a microscope picture of a canvas piece containig lead oxide is shown during a press conference is shown during a press conference at the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest on August 8, 2013. Romanian experts sifting through ashes that could contain charred debris of masterpieces stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum have identified fragments typical of burnt oil paintings, the museum carrying out the analysis said Thursday. Six Romanians will stand trial in August for what has been called the “theft of the century”. The works stolen include Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU.
L_2-1411b0ae-a0aaBUCHAREST.- An image showing stolen paintings from Rotterdam Kunst Museum is presented during a press conference at the National History Museum of Romania in Bucharest on August 8, 2013. Romanian experts sifting through ashes that could contain charred debris of masterpieces stolen from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum have identified fragments typical of burnt oil paintings, the museum carrying out the analysis said Thursday. Six Romanians will stand trial in August for what has been called the “theft of the century”. The works stolen include Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU.
L_4-4d06bad5-27fbCARCALIU.- The house of Olga Dogaru, the mother of a Romanian suspect accused of stealing seven masterpieces from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum, is pictured in Carcaliu village, eastern Romania, on August 7, 2013. Olga Dogaru, inhabitant of th Carcaliu village, said she incinerated the artworks, valued at over 18 million euros, in her stove in a bid to destroy evidence. She later changed her statement saying she did not burn the paintings. Six Romanians will stand trial in August for what has been called the “theft of the century”. The seven masterpieces were swiped from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum on October 16 in less than 90 seconds. The stolen works include Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”. AFP PHOTO DANIEL MIHAILESCU.