“The whole exhibition is gone, altogether 25 pictures,” gallery owner Ulrike Erben said on Friday.and
Thieves apparently broke through the back door on New Year's Eve and stripped the entire collection. Precious art works by Matisse, George Braque, Richard Hess and several famous prints by Pablo Picasso are now missing.
“They even took the eight sculptures, one of them weighs almost 50 kilogrammes,” Erben said, concluding that several people must have been involved in the art heist.
Police estimates the total amount of damage at €180,000, though Erben said the art was insured.
The gallery owner said she assumes that the burglars were familiar with the value of the art and knew what they were stealing.
“That surely was no coincident. But it could have been a lot worse,” she said, explaining that the rooms were being prepared for a new exhibition and therefore many paintings either weren't there yet or had not been hung on the walls.
Theft of Picasso artworks are quite common, simply because there are so many of them. Last year, two of the Spaniard's paintings on loan from an art gallery in Hannover were stolen from a museum in Switzerland.
The most valuable Picasso is Garçon à la Pipe (Boy with a Pipe), sold at auction in New York in 2004 for more than €74 million.