[Pounds Sterling]2m Paintings Stolen; Van Gogh, Picasso and Gauguin Go Missing from Gallery
Loudon, Andrew, Daily Mail (London)
Byline: ANDREW LOUDON
PAINTINGS by Van Gogh, Picasso and Gauguin - together worth up to pound sterling 2million - have been stolen from one of the country's leading galleries.
Staff discovered the theft as they prepared to open the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester at lunchtime yesterday.
The watercolours are Vincent Van Gogh's The Fortifications of Paris with Houses, painted in 1878, Pablo Picasso's Poverty (1903) and Paul Gauguin's Tahitian Landscape (1893), which is clearly stamped with the artist's initials in the bottom left-hand corner. Daily Mail art critic Robin Simon last night estimated the Van Gogh to be worth pound sterling350,000, the Gauguin pound sterling400,000 and the Picasso pound sterling500,000.
But if all three are sold together, this could raise their combined value to about pound sterling 2million, he said.
All had been donated to the gallery by benefactors more than 70 years ago and were being stored out of public view.
Detectives were last night questioning staff at the gallery, which is part of the University of Manchester.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: 'This was a well-planned theft and we have launched a major inquiry.
We are now trying to piece together what happened.' The gallery, in Whitworth Park opposite Manchester Royal Infirmary, holds more than 40,000 works of art but can display only a small number at any one time. …