Paintings of 'considerable value' stolen in Netherlands art heist

Paintings by famous modern artists disappeared from an exhibition in the Netherlands in a predawn art heist Tuesday.

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Paintings by famous modern artists disappeared from an exhibition in the Netherlands in a predawn art heist Tuesday, shutting down an exhibition in the Kunsthal Rotterdam, where works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Claude Monet are on display.

Paintings of "considerable value" disappeared in the museum theft, spokeswoman Mariette Maaskant said on Netherlands public radio.

The Kunsthal's alarm system went off shortly after 3 a.m. local time, alerting the exhibition hall's private security detail. When security staffers arrived by car, they saw that the paintings were missing, Rotterdam police spokesman Roland Ekkers said. They informed police, who started an investigation.

The works belong to a private collection that is being shown for the first time to the public, according to a Kunsthal statement.

The Triton Collection has taken 20 years to assemble and includes more than 150 works of modern art from the "late nineteenth century to the present day." It spans art movements from impressionism and expressionism to cubism and constructivism.

Its roster of artists boasts the names of Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondriaan and George Braque, to name just a few.

Police plan to release the names of the artwork stolen and information about the break-in and suspects later Tuesday, Ekkers said.

Journalist Dominique Van Heerden contributed to this report.

™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
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