The thieves used a hydraulic car jack to pry their way past the pull-down metal gate that protects the museum’s front entrance. Then, they smashed through two glass doors, probably using a crowbar, to get to the paintings on the second floor, police said.
The fundamental problem with securing fine art is that it’s so extraordinarily valuable; museums simply can’t afford the security required.
Local media reports estimated their value at around $100 million, but Cosomano and other curators said it is difficult to put a price on them because the paintings had not gone to auction.
“The prices paid for such works would be incalculable, enough to give you vertigo,” said curator Miriam Alzuri of the Bellas Artes Museum of Bilbao, Spain.
We basically rely on the fact that fine art can’t be resold, because everyone knows it’s stolen. But if someone wants the painting and is willing to hang it in a secret room somewhere in his estate, that doesn’t hold.
“Everything indicates they were sent to do it by some wealthy art lover for his own collection — someone who, although wealthy, was not rich enough to buy the paintings,” Moura added.