World’s Bitchingist Art Thief Steals a Picasso, a Matisse, a Braque, a Modigliani and a Léger from Paris Museum

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05/20/2010 11:01 AM |

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Art theft is the most pernicious form of larcency, since the goods being taken have been placed in the public trust—we, the people, are an art thief’s victim, robbed of the beauty of our cultural heritage. But.

The daring and ingenuity involved in breaking into a heavily secured museum and stealing art off the walls—not to mention the glamor and secrecy of the black market in high art—gives the art thief a certain charisma, which is only fitting, given the invariably impeccably refined aesthetic taste and art-historical knowledge demonstrated in your average art heist.

All of which is a long way of going about reporting that last night, a lone thief broke into the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and stole five paintings: Pablo Picasso’s Pigeon with Peas, Henri Matisse’s Pastoral, Georges Braque’s Olive Tree near Estaque, Amedeo Modigliani’s Woman with a Fan, and Fernand Leger’s Still Life with Chandeliers.

What. Yeah. I mean, there’s a Chagall and a Gris I might have grabbed if it were me, but those five are among the best-known paintings in the museum. A slideshow is after the jump. (The thief, presumably working off an order filled out by a shadowy rich man, smashed a window and a padlock, and removed the paintings from their frames with care.)