Thursday 18 July 2013

Olga Dogaru, Alleged Romanian Art Destroyer

Paintings by Picasso, Monet and Matisse were among the pieces stolen from Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum in October last year. Olga Dogaru last week said she had incinerated them to "destroy evidence" after her son's arrest for the theft. It is a shame that there is no legislation by which such cultural crime, as such, can be prevented or properly punished. Perhaps we need some. This is the face of the woman who, it now seems, did it.

Olga Dogaru
Artwork stolen from Kunsthal museum and burnt in a village stove in Caracliu, Romania.

Monet's Waterloo Bridge
Pablo Picasso's 1971 Harlequin Head
Claude Monet's 1901 Waterloo Bridge, London
Claude Monet's Charing Cross Bridge, London
Henri Matisse's 1919 Reading Girl in White and Yellow
Paul Gauguin's 1898 Girl in Front of Open Window
Meye de Haan's Self-Portrait from around 1890
Lucien Freud's 2002 Woman with Eyes Closed

BBC News:  'Stolen artwork 'burned' in Romania', 17 July 2013

UPDATE 8.8.13

Vlad Odobescu, 'Romanian mom likely burned stolen artwork, experts say' USA Today August 8, 2013.
Forensic experts say the mother of a man suspected in a theft of masterpieces from Matisse and Picasso appears to have been telling the truth when she said she burned the works in a stove to cover for her son. The National History Museum in Bucharest announced Thursday that its experts found traces of at least three paintings in the ashes of the stove. The ashes contained nails made in the 19th century and pigments characteristic of the period when the stolen paintings were created, the museum said. The museum said it could not determine from the evidence that the ashes are definitively those of the artworks, but the findings bolster the mother's initial claim. "If these are indeed those paintings, it's a monstrosity without any justification," said Ernest Oberlander-Tarnoveanu, director of the Bucharest museum. [...] In May, Olga Dogaru, the mother of Radu, testified that in February she took the paintings from a town cemetery where they were hidden and burned them in her stove. Her reasoning, she told investigators, was that if the paintings didn't exist anymore, her son might not be convicted. "They burned pretty quickly," she said.

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