Picasso Works Stolen from Relative's House Two Pablo Picasso paintings, worth nearly $66 million, were recently stolen from his granddaughter's house in Paris. The two works are both family portraits.
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Picasso Works Stolen from Relative's House

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Picasso Works Stolen from Relative's House

Picasso Works Stolen from Relative's House

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

OK. Well, who knows about the market? Maybe you should be putting your money into high-value art.

LUKE BURBANK, host:

Alex, I've got to tell you, that may have been a good bet some days. But this is not the day for that.

We're getting word that out of Europe, there was a huge art heist in Paris. Actually, Pablo Picasso's granddaughter's home was raided. They got two paintings. They were worth about $66 million.

CHADWICK: Hm.

BURBANK: I caught up with a woman named Sarah Jackson. She's the research director at a place called the Art Loss Register in London. It's the largest private international database and clearinghouse for missing and stolen art.

Ms. SARAH JACKSON (Research Director, Art Loss Register): It certainly ranks amongst one of the highest valued burglaries that we've heard about. In terms of theft from a private home, this is very significant. And it's particularly sad that they've been stolen from a member of the artist's family.

BURBANK: Right. And can you describe these two Picassos for me?

Ms. JACKSON: One of them is a portrait of Jacqueline, his second wife. The other is a wonderful picture of Maya with her doll, and shows a little girl with ribbons in her hair with a doll on her lap. It's really a charming picture.

BURBANK: And Maya is - was Picasso's daughter, right?

Ms. JACKSON: Correct.

BURBANK: So these are tremendously personal as well as…

Ms. JACKSON: They're very personal pictures. They're important because, they're portraits of members of his family. And they're important because they're really iconic works by Picasso.

BURBANK: Well, these are obviously pretty recognizable works, and they're worth an astronomical amount of money. Who would somebody sell this work to? I mean, nobody can ever show it.

Ms. JACKSON: Well, a criminal could show them, you know, if he put them into his home and wanted them to have to impress his friends. Sure, he could show them.

But certainly they could never appear on the legitimate art market, or any reputable collector could never - could never handle these pictures. They're simply to well known. They're too hot to handle.

BURBANK: I mean, are there criminal folk who have $60 million, and, you know, are that into having a Picasso to show their three drinking buddies? I mean, are there really those people out there?

Ms. JACKSON: It is possible. I mean, there's always been speculation that there are collectors who have collections consisting of stolen works of art. The more likelihood, I think, is that these pictures have been stolen by criminals for commercial gain.

BURBANK: You've watched a lot of these cases - maybe not with dollar values in $66 million territory…

Ms. JACKSON: Mm-hmm.

BURBANK: …but even so, how do you go about investigating and trying to recover this sort of art work?

Ms. JACKSON: The most important thing is to spread information on this theft worldwide. So Interpol would have been notified about this theft. I imagine that the authorities in France have notified all ports and airports about the theft of the pictures.

They've obviously been recorded onto the Art Loss Register's database. Now if we should get any inquiries on the pictures, obviously, we will inform the French police.

But at the moment, it's very early days. And it's a bit of a waiting game to see whether these will surface quite quickly or whether the thieves will store them underground for a while in the hope that the interest and the heat dies down. And then they may try and surface them.

BURBANK: How many stolen paintings are out there?

Ms. JACKSON: We have 170,000 missing and stolen works of art on our database. And over 600 of those are works by Picasso. So, a very prolific artist. And certainly, we have found stolen works by Picasso coming up on the auction market or with dealers.

So all our database is checked against items that appear on the art market in the hope of identifying them and returning them to their rightful owners.

BURBANK: Well, Sarah Jackson, research director at the Art Loss Register, thanks for joining us.

Ms. JACKSON: Thank you.

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