Jul 17, 2013

By Michael Kramer

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A pile of ashes and some nails found in a stove may turn out to be the remains of masterpieces by  Matisse, Picasso and  Monet – stolen last year from the Kunsthal  museum in the Netherlands.

Romania’s National History Museum is examining the ashes found in the stove of Olga Dogaru – the mother of one of three Romanian suspects charged in the art heist.

The stolen works have an estimated value of tens of millions of dollars if they were sold at auction.

Dogaru told investigators she was scared for her son after he was arrested and she buried the art works but later dug them up and burned them.

Thieves broke in October 16th through a rear emergency exit at the gallery in downtown Rotterdam , grabbed the paintings off the wall and fled, all within two minutes.

The stolen paintings were: Pablo Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin Head”; Claude Monet’s 1901 “Waterloo Bridge, London” and “Charing Cross Bridge, London”; Henri Matisse’s 1919 “Reading Girl in White and Yellow”; Paul Gauguin’s 1898 “Girl in Front of Open Window”; Meyer de Haan’s “Self-Portrait,” around 1890; and Lucian Freud’s 2002 work “Woman with Eyes Closed.”

Radu Dogaru, the alleged ringleader, as well as the two other suspects remain in custody as investigators seek the paintings and other evidence.

The stolen paintings came from the private Triton Foundation, a collection of avant-garde art put together by multimillionaire Willem Cordia, an investor and businessman, and his wife, Marijke Cordia-Van der Laan.

Willem Cordia died in 2011.

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