(Greek: κρυπτεία / krupteía, from κρυπτός / kruptós, “hidden, secret things”)

$1.1M Degas artwork stolen from museum

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MARSEILLE, France (AP) – A drawing by Impressionist Edgar Degas worth €800,000 ($1.15 million) has been stolen from an exhibit in southeast France, officials said Thursday.

The work, “Les Choristes,” (or “The Chorus Singers”), was stolen overnight from the Cantini Museum in the city of Marseille without setting off an alarm, police and judicial officials said.

A security guard discovered it was missing when opening the museum Thursday morning. The museum was closed Thursday while the theft is being investigated.

“This picture was unscrewed. It wasn’t ripped down,” Marseille state prosecutor Jacques Dallest told reporters. “That suggests at least a little bit of organization… It’s not necessarily the work of a great professional either.”

The small pastel, dominated by hues of pink, orange, red and yellow, features a group of singers on stage in varying expressions. Some have their hands extended, or over their chests. The drawing dates back to 1876-77 and is worth €800,000, France’s national museums authority said.

The famed Musee d’Orsay in Paris, known for its Impressionist works, had lent the picture to the Marseille museum for an exhibition, the officials said.

No other details were immediately available.

I recently started reading about the Gardner Heist, in fact I am almost done with the book as it is a slimmer volume. Anyway, this little heist really interests me. As you can see from this report the pastel was unscrewed from the wall and made off with. This is interesting.

This implies a few things:

1) Someone had some time to unscrew it even “if” they had a power driver

2) It’s a small work and was the only one taken (that we know of at this time) and thus really portable

3) That there is no evidence of break in implies that this theft was well planned out and likely had an inside source

Now, I don’t know what if any, alarm systems they may have had on the pastel’s frame. Usually, a system would be in place to alarm if the painting is taken from the wall but, I have found out recently that many institutions are skimping on the alarms due to today’s financial problems globally. Many museums simply cannot afford the best of the best in alarms and protection for their works.

So, someone either saw this as an easy target for some fast money or they really wanted “this” work. I am willing though, to bet that someone wanted this work in particular unless this was one of those heists where the place is closing, the guard has passed, and someone just ZIP ZIP ZIP takes it down and walks out with it.

Either way, I will keep an eye on this story. I wonder what the reward for return will be….


Written by Krypt3ia

2010/01/01 at 13:36

Posted in Art, Heists

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