It turns out that the Picasso Museum, which was robbed of a sketchbook during a reception recently, was due to be closed while being renovated. The closure was delayed for a few months when the theft occurred. Naturally, upgrading security was high on the list of renovations. After all, Picasso is by far the most-stolen artist. Also, there have been a rash of museum thefts in France over the last few years. Bloomberg‘s Farah Nayeri reports:
The Picasso Museum is closing Aug. 23 for a 20 million euro ($28 million) overhaul to make way for more visitors and upgrade security equipment and wiring. It’s one of several French arts institutions to have been robbed or vandalized recently. As global museums accommodate ever bigger crowds, protecting their collections becomes increasingly tough.
In August 2007, masked and armed thieves broke into the Musee des Beaux Arts in Nice and stole a Monet, a Sisley and two Brueghel paintings. They were arrested in Marseille 10 months later trying to sell the works, which were found in a van.
In October 2007, five people broke into the Musee d’Orsay around midnight. One of them punched a Monet picture, “Le Pont d’Argenteuil” (1874), causing a 10-centimeter (four-inch) rip in the canvas. The five were later found thanks to video images. […]
“Had the museum closed three months earlier, as was originally planned, we wouldn’t have had this problem,” says Serge Leroux, head of museum security at the Culture Ministry’s museums division, who explained that administrative issues delayed closure. “If you’re going to put in video cameras and redo the alarm system, you have to run cables through, and that can’t happen without the museum shutting its doors.”