Stolen and recovered: Picasso’s drawing is now in safe place.
A Pablo Picasso work of art was again the subject of a theft. At the beginning of the week, all newspapers wrote about the drawing that had been stolen from the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco. “Tete de Femme” the stolen piece of art, created in 1965, was estimated to be worth $275,000. According to the art gallery, the thief grabbed Picasso’s drawing off the wall and fled in a waiting taxicab. Fortunately, a Union Square restaurant’s security camera captured the crook. Police have recovered the Picasso drawing on Thursday. Furthermore, the man suspected of taking the valuable sketch had been arrested. Now he faces several charges, including grand theft, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. His bail was set at $5 million, police said.
Obviously, “Tete de Femme” is not the first Picasso drawing to be stolen. In 1969, some sketches by Pablo Picasso were stolen while on display in a travelling art exhibit organized by the University of Michigan. The theft also took drawings made by the British sculptor Henry Moore. All the sketches were valued at $200,000, and recovered later while being in a California auction house. No arrest was made.
Recently, on February 24th, 2006, “The Dance” by the spanish artist disappeared from the Museu da Chacara do Ceu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The thieves took advantage of a carnival parade passing by the museum and disappeared into the crowd. They also took “Man of Sickly Complexion Listening to the Sound of the Sea” by Salvador Dali, “Luxembourg Gardens” by Henri Matisse, and “Marine” by Claude Monet. Unfortunately, none of these paintings had been recovered so far.
Two years later, on June 12th, three armed men broke into the Pinacoteca do Estado Museum, Sao Paulo and stole Picasso’s “Minotaur, Drinker and Women.”
Another painting made by Picasso that has yet to be found is “The Pigeon with Green Peas.” The painting was stolen from the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris last year, on May 20th. Together with the other five paintings stolen that day, the loot is estimated to be worth about $123 million.
Spain, Picasso’s homeland, was not to be overlooked by the art thieves. On March, 2010, several paintings by Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Antoni Tapies and Julio Gonzalez were stolen while being trucked from a warehouse in Getafe. The cameras recorded images of three masked men who entered the building and hijacked the truck.
Not many people know, but Picasso was himself assumed to be involved in an art theft. Two volumes published in the United States in 2009, rebuild one of the most daring art heist of the 20th century: The theft of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. During the investigation, which lasted several years, even Pablo Picasso had been summoned for questioning by French police. In the morning of August 21, 1911, when the most precious possession of the the Salon Carré museum disappeared, the French police began a controversial investigation of the theft.
Guillaume Apollinaire, Picasso’s friend, was believed to have been involved in the theft of Mona Lisa. He was arrested and put in jail. Apollinaire tried to implicate his friend Pablo Picasso, who was also brought in for questioning. Picasso, who was just at the beginning of his ascent into bourgeois life of the Belle Epoque Paris, admitted that he bought two statues stolen with Gioconda, who inspired the famous “Ladies of Avignon”, but claimed that he did not know their origin. Later on, both Picasso and Apollinaire were exonerated. The real thief was Vincenzo Peruggia, who was caught after two years.