Picasso Notebook Stolen in Paris

Via the BBC:

A sketchbook of some 32 drawings by Pablo Picasso worth about 8m euros ($11m; £6.8m) has been stolen from a museum in Paris, police have said. The theft from the Picasso Museum was discovered on Tuesday afternoon but the exact time and circumstances have yet to be determined. Initial investigations showed the sketchbook was held in an unlocked display case on the first floor.

Police sources told the Agence France-Presse news agency that the theft would probably have been committed between Monday evening and noon on Tuesday. There were no signs of a break-in an no alarms were set off. The museum was closed at the time, although there was a private viewing on Tuesday.

My first thought is: how awesome would it be if the theif were some rich, old lady with cleptomaniac impulses at the private viewing? The kind with embarrassed younger relations who had to keep returning silver spoons from dinner parties. She would just have to nod drowsily as if she were falling asleep, then quickly stick her hand in there and put the notebook in her pocketbook.

While that’s a ludicrous scenario, you would think museums could spare funds for security. A lock would be an especially low-tech way to go. While I gloried at how close you could be to so many Picassos at Gagosian’s new space in Chelsea, now I wonder if the small white box can provide enough security.


8 thoughts on “Picasso Notebook Stolen in Paris

  1. It’s a bit peculiar. Since when do museums keep such valuable items in unlocked cases?

    I agree with you – I hope it was some klepto old woman too. That would be awesome.

  2. Art – if this sketchbook is valued at $11 million (?) – what was the value of the Gagosian Picasso exhibit? The gallery didn’t look especially secure to the untrained eye…

  3. LG, actually museum security can be suprisingly bad, but it really only comes to light at times like this.

    Anon, yes, exactly. Gagosian likely has cameras and gaurds who tell people not to get too close during open hours. It didn’t seem have laser tripwires or whatever else high-tech security, but then my eye is hardly trained either.

    But say we value each painting at a conservative $5M and times it by 30 (although I think they are more paintings and we are excluding the drawings entirely) = $150M. Of course, auction prices at like these are enormously higher than what you can get for such high-profile stolen art, assuming you can even sell it.

    Bill, lol, or she would put a lead on Balto and have some poor sap help the old lady get her dog home.

  4. Art- in a earlier post you were discussing the dilemmma of whether to have small, unspectacular originals or larger reproductions.

    Why worry? Just pop into a local museum and take an original masterpiece.

    I can’t believe how bad the security is. What about those people who walked out of the Munch Museum with The Scream? It’s bizarre.

  5. Steerforth, don’t think I haven’t thought about it. NY’s Museum of Modern Art has a warehouse just outside the city holding my Cy Twombly paintings Le Quattro Stagione. I use ‘my’ in the future sense. ; )

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