Picassos stolen in second recent Brazil art heist

Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:15pm EDT
 
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SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Armed robbers stole two Pablo Picasso prints and two works by Brazilian artists from Sao Paulo's Pinacoteca Museum on Thursday, officials said, the second major art theft in the Brazilian city in six months.

The three robbers entered the museum in broad daylight and threatened security guards.

They made off with the Spanish artist's 1963 print "The Painter and the Model" and "Minotaur, Drinker and Women" from 1933, the state culture secretariat said.

They also snatched the print "Couple" by Brazilian artist Lasar Segall (1891-1957) and the painting "Women in a Window" by fellow Brazilian Emiliano Di Cavalcanti (1897-1976).

The artworks, belonging to the Jose and Paulina Nemirovsky Foundation and worth in total about 1 million reais ($613,000), were on display in the Pinacoteca Station annex of the museum.

It was the second theft of works by Picasso, who lived from 1881 to 1973, in Sao Paulo in recent months.

In December, his painting "Portrait of Suzanne Bloch" was stolen from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art along with Brazilian painter Candido Portinari's "The Coffee Worker," worth a combined $55 million.

Those thieves forced open the museum's main door with a hydraulic jack and used a crowbar to smash a glass door. The museum had no alarm system and neither painting was insured.

Police recovered the paintings and arrested two suspects a few weeks later.

(Reporting by Fernanda Ezabella; Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Stuart Grudgings and John O'Callaghan)