Three important pieces of art, including the only Picasso painting in Greece, were stolen last night, at the dawning of Monday, January 9th, from the National Gallery of Greece, located on Vasileos Constantinou ave, 50, opposite the Athens Hilton Hotel.
The burglary was noticed at 4:30 a.m. when the motion detector in the room of temporary exhibitions was activated. The guardian went to the room, traced the burglars and tried to hunt them down, with no result eventually. Then he called the private security company and the Police.
The plan had been perfectly organized by the burglars, who apparently knew well every room of the National Gallery as well as the security systems of the buildings. The burglars entered the gallery through a balcony door and performed some "preparative" actions for the guardian, according to the police announcement.
In fact, at about 8 o'clock last evening, the burglars broke into a balcony door without opening it though. This activated the alarm but when the guardian went to the room to check, he saw no sign of breaking into. This was repetead many times and each time the guardian came back to inspect the room, he wouldn't find anything wrong. After few hours, the burglars entered the interior of the gallery, burnt some wires of the alarm and took three paintings out of their frames. They were about to take a fourth when the motion detector was activated and the guardian came in the room again.
The stolen paintings include:
- A painting, oil on canvas, 56x40 cm, of the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, painted in 1939 and showing a woman head. In 1949, this painting was donated by the artist himself to the Greek people, for their brave opposition against the Nazi forces during the Second World War.
- A painting, oil on canvas, 35x44 cm, of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, painted in 1905 and showing a windmill on the shore of a river. This painting was bought in 1963 by Alexandros Pappas and was donated to the National Gallery.
- A paperwork 27x16,8 cm of the Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia (Moncalvo) that shows San Diego de Alcala. This piece was donated to the National Gallery by Grigorios Maraslis.
The burglars were ready to steal another painting of Mondrian that shows a typical farm, when they were noticed by the guardian. All stolen paintings were part of the exhibition "Unknown Treasures from the National Gallery Collections". Intensive efforts are made by the Greek police in cooperation with international police forces for spotting the burglars.
The photo is from www.tanea.gr