Almost nine years after they were stolen in a near-perfect heist at the National Gallery in Athens, Pablo Picasso’s “Head of a Woman” and Piet Montrian’s “Stammer Windmill” have been found.
The two works were recovered in the eastern Attican town of Keratea, hidden inside the house of a Greek man, who was being monitored by police.
The perpetrators of the 2012 theft had also removed an early 17th-century sketch attributed to the Italian Mannerist artist Guglielmo Caccia. This sketch was found damaged.
The two paintings are now in the possession of the police.
The 2021 art heist had baffled police. The two burglars entered the gallery in the early hours through an unlocked balcony door, having drawn security guards away from the paintings by setting off alarms at several locations throughout the museum. Security footage shows the men swiftly removing stripping the paintings from their frames.
Although two men were arrested and convicted for the heist, the identity of the mastermind behind the heist remained a mystery.
Picasso painted “Head of a Woman” in 1939. Ten years later, he offered the work to the Greek people in honour of their contribution to the resistance under Nazi occupation. On the back of the painting, a handwritten dedication of the Spanish painter states: “Pour le peuple grec, hommage de Picasso” (For the Greek people, tribute from Picasso).