Greek police drop recovered Picasso painting that was stolen nine years ago

·Freelance Writer
·2 min read

Watch: Greek cops drop recovered Picasso painting

This is the heart-in-the-mouth moment a Picasso painting dropped unceremoniously to the floor as police displayed the recovered artwork nine years after it went missing.

The work, titled Woman’s Head, was stolen in an art heist from Greece's National Gallery in 2012 but was recently recovered from a ditch in a forest.

Greek police put the recovered artwork on display but it was not placed in a stable position and fell to the floor, risking damage.

In the video, which was shown on Greek television and posted to Twitter by Athens journalist Tassos Morfis, a man can be seen sheepishly picking up the painting and carefully placing it back on its perch.

The priceless Picasso is placed back on display after it fell onto the floor.
The priceless Picasso is placed back on display after falling to the floor.

Woman’s Head was personally donated by Picasso to the gallery in 1949 but was stripped from its frame during an overnight heist at the National Art Gallery in January 2012.

It was recovered with another painting by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, called Mill, from 1905, which was also snatched from the gallery.

A suspect in custody led authorities to a forest outside Athens, where police footage shows one of the paintings sealed in a package under some bushes.

A third artwork taken from the gallery, a sketch by Italian painter Guglielmo Caccia, is said to have been destroyed.

This handout photograph taken and released by the Greek Culture Ministry on June 29, 2021 shows a recovered painting of Picasso titled
The recovered Picasso painting (left) has been recovered almost a decade after it was stolen alongside two other artworks in an audacious heist from Greece's National Gallery. (AFP)

The builder who allegedly confessed to stealing the artworks in 2012 has now been arrested, Greek authorities said.

The man reportedly claimed he was an art lover and did not intend to sell the paintings.

Greece's culture minister Lina Mendoni said the Picasso is especially important because the Spaniard had dedicated the work to Greece's fight against fascism, and it bore an inscription from the artist about it.

The theft from the National Gallery occurred after thieves triggered the alarm system several times to mislead a guard.

This handout photograph taken and released by the Greek Police on June 29, 2021 shows a recovered painting of Picasso titled
The Picasso painting, titled Woman's Head, was personally donated by the Spanish master to the Greek people. (AFP)

When the guard eventually turned off the alarm, they broke in and stole it in the early morning.

The paintings will be exhibited once again in the institution.

Citizens' protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said: "In our new gallery, they will find the place they deserve.

"Picasso dedicated the painting to the Greek people. There was a Greek man who took it away. There were Greeks who brought it back."

Watch: Police recover Greek art heist's stolen Picasso

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