Greek police found a cubist painting by Picasso and Mondrian’s work stolen in 2012 from the National Gallery in Athens. A suspect has been arrested.
Pablo Picasso’s “Woman’s Head” oil, dating from 1939, was introduced ten years later by the artist to Greece, as a tribute to the anti-Nazi resistance.
The painting bearing the handwritten French words “Greece people salute to Picasso” was found in the Kitaria countryside, about 45 kilometers southeast of Athens, the Greek news agency reported.
A Piet Mondrian “mill”, dating back to 1905, was also found, according to the agency.
According to the Ministry of Culture, more details will be announced this Tuesday.
In January 2012, two paintings and a drawing on paper by Italian artist Guglielmo Caccia de il Moncalvo (1568-1625) representing the ecstasy of a saint were stolen from the National Gallery, taking advantage of the inadequate observation of the building located in the center of Athens.
The intrusion, in which two men suspected of removing the works from the paintings, lasted only seven minutes.
Later, a report from the authorities determined that gallery security had not been renovated since 2000, that many areas of the museum were out of range of security cameras and that alarms were down.
On the night of the robbery, the criminals played several times with a door they opened to set off the alarm without entering the building, thus avoiding the watch of the guard, before entering the building at dawn to steal business.
The guard explained to the police that he chased after a thief who left another business for Mondrian during his escape.
This theft, committed during the country’s economic crisis and marked by numerous layoffs, including among museum guards, was followed in February 2012 by a daring theft of antiques from the Olympia Museum.
Then two masked armed robbers stole dozens of objects over three thousand years old.
The items were found in November 2012 after a man was arrested trying to sell a 3,300-year-old gold wedding ring to a plainclothes policeman, and a year later, seven men were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years.
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