Romanian Defendants Claim Stolen Masterpieces Still Exist

  • August 13, 2013 23:20

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“Girl in Front of Open Window,” by Paul Gauguin (1898).
Rotterdam Police

In Romania on Tuesday, defendants on trial for the theft of paintings worth tens of millions of dollars that were taken from the Kunsthal museum in the Netherlands last October say the artwork was not burned.

The defendants want to strike a deal and could reveal the whereabouts of the missing art in a "big surprise" at trial, say their lawyers.

One of the defendant's mothers initially told investigators that she had burned the artworks to destroy evidence against her son, Radu Dogaru, the supposed leader of the gang.

Evidence of the remains of three or more artworks was found in the stove at Olga Dogaru's house. One lawyer says that nails found in the ash date from the first part of this century. One of the missing paintings is a Lucien Freud, done in 2002.

Other missing artworks include masterpieces by Gauguin, Matisse, Monet and Picasso. Many in the art world fear the works are lost forever. The defendants have changed their stories many times, and the stalling for a "surprise" could be another ploy to lessen their sentences.

The trial will resume Sept. 10.

Read more at New York Times

Tags: european art

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