Thieves Nab a Picasso in Museum Heist

Work by Portinari also missing after quick strike in Brazil
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2007 8:48 AM CST
In this image released by the Sao Paulo Museum of Art is an undated photograph of Pablo Picasso's painting "Portrait of Suzanne Bloch." Thieves broke into the Sao Paulo Museum of Art on Dec. 20, 2007...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Thieves broke into Latin America's foremost museum early yesterday and stole two paintings in a 3-minute heist. They made off with a Picasso portrait and a work by Brazilian painter Candido Portinari from Brazil's São Paulo Museum of Art, the AP reports. The thieves skipped several major works and grabbed only the two canvases, hung far apart, leading police to conclude they were stolen on demand.

Picasso's 1904 Portrait of Suzanne Bloch comes form the artist's blue period and is one of the most valuable works in the museum's collection, while O Lavrador de Café is a key work by Portinari, who also painted murals at the UN in New York. Picasso's painting is worth an estimated $50 million, while Portinari's is worth $5 million.