Police in Paris are investigating why the city’s Museum of Modern Art allegedly left an alarm broken for two months, allowing a thief to make off with paintings worth 100 million euros.
The haul included works by famous artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani and Braque.
The theft was discovered yesterday after officials noticed a smashed window.
Some experts say they will fetch nothing on the black market.
Pierre Cornette de Saint Cyr, Auctioneer and President of the Palais de Tokyo Museum poured scorn on those responsible:
“The thieves are imbeciles. Those paintings are absolutely unsellable. First of all because these are very well known paintings,” he said.
“The entire planet, with the internet and the means of communication, the entire planet has pictures of these paintings. They are unsellable,” he added.
Other experts say the works were probably taken by extortionists.
Robert Read, head of art and private clients at specialist insurer Hiscox in London, said private buyers were unlikely to have ordered the robbery as art was acquired to be exhibited.
“It’s more likely to be criminals trying to extort money from the museum or state, or who trade it in the underworld for drugs or weapons,” he said.
“This is a serious crime against the heritage of humanity,” said Christophe Girard, culture deputy for the mayor of Paris. He did not know how many thieves were involved.
The museum is now closed for “technical reasons” until further notice.
The last big art theft in Paris was that of 32 drawings at the Picasso Museum worth 8 million euros last June.