The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, November 20, 2017


'Spiderman' burglar Vjeran Tomic on trial over $100 million Paris art haul
David-Olivier Kaminski, lawyer of Vjeran Tomic, the main suspect in the case of the 2010 theft of five masterpieces from the Paris Modern Art Museum, speaks to a journalist as he arrives on January 30, 2017 at the Court house in Paris. Three people are on trial over the 2010 theft of five masterpieces of Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque and Leger from the Paris Modern Art Museum. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP.

by Sofia Bouderbala


PARIS (AFP).- A burglar dubbed "Spiderman", notorious for daring acrobatic heists, went on trial Monday for a $100-million art heist in 2010 that saw works by Picasso and Matisse stolen from a Paris gallery.

Vjeran Tomic, a balding 49-year-old who is a skilled rock climber, arrived in a blue overcoat and sweatshirt for his trial in Paris where he faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the robbery.

He admitted to carrying out the heist after being arrested in May 2011 and compared himself to a famed thief from French literature as he spoke to reporters on Monday.

"What role did I have? Arsene Lupin," he told reporters with a smile, referring to the sly but charming character who ransacked rich Parisians' homes in stories first published at the start of the 20th century.

Tomic and two alleged accomplices have been charged over the May 2010 robbery at the Modern Art Museum of five paintings by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Ferdinand Leger and Amedeo Modigliani. All the artworks are still missing.

Tomic is suspected of cutting through a padlocked gate and breaking a window to get into the gallery, one of the most-visited museums in Paris on the banks of the Seine.

The museum's alarms had been awaiting repair for several weeks and Tomic is alleged to have somehow knocked out a security camera.

Three guards were on duty that night, but the paintings were only found to be missing from their frames just as the museum prepared to open to the public the next day.

When police arrested the Serb in May 2011, Tomic told them he had initially broken into the museum for Leger's "Still Life with Candlestick" from 1922, not thinking he would also be able to steal another four.

Besides the Leger canvas, the other works stolen were Picasso's cubist "Dove with Green Peas" from 1912 -- alone worth an estimated 25 million euros ($26.8 million) -- French contemporary Matisse's "Pastoral" from 1905, Braque's "Olive Tree near Estaque" from 1906, and Modigliani's "Woman with a Fan" from 1919.

All but the Modigliani were hung in the same room in the museum, located in the well-heeled 16th district of Paris, which is run by the city and is home to more than 8,000 works of 20th-century art.

'Liked' paintings
Tomic, who has a long criminal record of 14 previous offences, said he took them all because he "liked" the paintings.

Authorities put the total value of the haul at 100 million euros ($107 million), but some experts said they were worth twice that, while admitting it would be impossible to sell such artworks on the open market.

The presiding judge at the trial on Monday, Peimane Ghaleh-Marzban, said the value of the masterworks was "far higher than their market value."

They have still not been recovered.

Ghaleh-Marzban also criticised the security "failures" which enabled the heist to be carried out with "disconcerting ease."

The defendants face a 10-year jail term if convicted for the theft or re-sale of the artworks, but Tomic's sentence could be double that given his criminal record.

Athletically built and 1.90 metres (6 foot 2 inches) tall, he earned his nickname for clambering into posh Parisian apartments and museums to steal valuable gems and works of art.

Prosecutors claim he was spotted by a homeless man as he roamed around the museum in the days leading to the theft.

Police arrested him after receiving an anonymous tip and tracking his mobile phone.
Surveillance cameras from the night of the heist recorded only one person entering through a window who could not be identified.

An art dealer who admitted to having the paintings for a short time said he dumped them in a garbage can, which authorities do not believe.

International police body Interpol put out an alert to its 188 member countries in the hope of recovering the five paintings, but so far they all remain missing.

There has been a spate of art thefts in Europe in recent years.

The most recent, in 2015, involved the theft of five paintings worth 25 million euros by renowned British artist Francis Bacon in Madrid.

Spanish police arrested seven people last year suspected of being involved in that theft.


© 1994-2017 Agence France-Presse






Today's News

January 31, 2017

'Spiderman' burglar Vjeran Tomic on trial over $100 million Paris art haul

The J. Paul Getty Museum presents "The Sculptural Line"

Two Belgians face trial in Poland for Auschwitz theft

Poland's WWII museum caught in political crosshairs

Exhibition at South Street Seaport Museum focuses on the maritime roots of the modern tattoo

Luhring Augustine and Alison Jacques Gallery announce co-representation of Lygia Clark

New digital resource puts Sir John Soane's Museum at the fingertips

'Andy Warhol: Art Is Anything You Can Get Away With' opens at the Cole Art Center

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen exhibits an unusual series of prints by Max Klinger

Exhibition at the Whitney offers a focused look at painting from the 1980s

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art opens its spring 2017 exhibitions

Exhibition at Vito Schnabel Gallery marks Bob Colacello's curatorial debut

First UK solo exhibition of works by French artist Elvire Bonduelle on view at Ronchini Gallery

Extensive selection of major paintings and works on paper by Nicola Tyson on view in St. Louis

The intimate portraits of Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander at Ingrid Deuss Gallery

Arkansas Arts Center exhibitions explore the nature of inspiration

Exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion designed to create an immersive experience for the viewer

Foam opens exhibition of works by Ren Hang

New collectors played major role in success of Artemis Gallery auction

Iran's Oscar-winning director to skip awards over Trump visa ban

After life performing Tchaikovsky, conductor keeps discovering

Institute of Contemporary Arts opens exhibitions by artists Sonia Boyce and Helen Johnson

Phillips names Clarice Pecori Giraldi as Regional Director for Italy

African-American experience heralded through rare, recent acquisitions

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Grasshopper found embedded in van Gogh masterpiece at Nelson-Atkins

2.- Scientists discover a mysterious, plane-sized 'void' in Great Pyramid in Egypt

3.- The largest collection of Viking artifacts on display in North America comes to the Royal Ontario Museum

4.- Rafael Soriano opens at Frost Art Museum FIU: Kicks off Miami's Art Basel season

5.- Cleveland Museum of Art releases new strategic plan

6.- Exhibition tells the story of the artists who fled to Britain to escape war in France

7.- Zahi Hawass criticises pyramid void 'discovery'

8.- French court to rule on Nazi-looted Pissarro painting

9.- Clark Art Institute exhibition studies less-explored aspects of Impressionist works

10.- Exhibitions in Germany and Switzerland present works from the Gurlitt Estate



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful