Bloomberg, the Art Loss Register and Associated Press all reported today the theft of a notebook of Picasso drawings from the Picasso museum in the Marais district of Paris. Here’s the AP:
A red notebook of 33 pencil drawings by Pablo Picasso has been stolen from a specially locked glass case in the Paris museum that bears the painter’s name, authorities said Tuesday. The book is believed to be worth 8 million euros ($11 million), a police official said. The theft took place between Monday and Tuesday morning at the Picasso Museum, removed from a glass case that “can only be opened with a specific instrument,” the Culture Ministry said. […] The stolen sketchbook, shiny red with the word “Album” inscribed in gold on the front, dated from 1917 to 1924, the Culture Ministry statement said. It measured 6.3 inches by 9.5 inches (16 by 24 centimeters).
Bloomberg offers this assessment from the Parisian prosecutor:
“There was a great crowd at the museum yesterday for an open-house party,” said Isabelle Montagne, the spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutors’ office. “It could have been organized crime, it could also have been someone who just lifted it as an act of vandalism.”
The Art Loss Register believes the reasons for Picasso’s popularity among thieves are the artist’s widespread name recognition, as well as the fact that he was extremely prolific. The high prices reported in the press following record-breaking auction sales also fuel thefts of artwork. Recently, for example, a Picasso painting sold in New York at Christie’s for $14.6 million dollars.