The woman even had the jacket altered by a tailor to fit her perfectly.
From the flight of mona-lisa in 1911 to the infamous burglary at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, art theft is nothing new. But the robbery that happened at the Picasso Museum in Paris on March 7, 2022 was a bit different – as the culprit was an unconscious elderly person.
As first reported in The Parisian, the unnamed 72-year-old spotted a blue work jacket hanging on the museum wall and assumed someone had accidentally forgotten about it. So she took it home and even adapted it to her size.
In reality, the jacket was part of an exhibit. Oriol Vilanova, the Catalan artist behind the work, had loaned it to the Picasso Museum for the museum’s “Picasso in the Image” exhibition, which features Pablo Picasso’s appearances in front of the camera during his lifetime. .
The jacket was placed next to a large black-and-white photograph of Picasso, and its pockets were stuffed with postcards depicting the artist’s works that Vilanova had purchased at flea markets and museum shops. He also understood it as a reflection on mass production.
The exhibit was designed to be interactive, as visitors were able to pull postcards out of jacket pockets and examine them. But the old woman took the idea one step further when she took the jacket home with the postcards still in her pockets.
“When the museum told me that the work had been stolen, I was surprised, but it was impossible to imagine the story that followed,” said Vilanova.
The museum had caught the woman stuffing the jacket into her bag on a surveillance camera, but they had no idea who she was or how to find her. In the days following the incident, police visited the museum to search for clues to his identity.
Then, in a shocking turn of events, the unconscious woman returned to the museum a few days later to review the exhibit. She had no idea that the police officers she saw there were looking for her – or that she had just made their job much easier.
Investigators immediately brought her in for questioning. She quickly confessed to stealing the jacket, but insisted she had no idea it was a work of art.
Police then searched his home and recovered the jacket, noting that its sleeves were nearly a foot shorter after the woman took it to the tailor.
The baffling incident was a first for Vilanova, which has exhibited the jacket in museums around the world for its “Old Masters” series since 2017, replacing the postcards inside to depict the works of a given artist.
“I have always exhibited this work in the same way in other museums without any problem [as there were] security guards who guaranteed his safety,” Vilanova said. Artnet News. “Other museums have insured the work of art. If I had been aware of the risk of theft [at Musée Picasso]I would never have exposed it.
The museum, however, refutes Vilanova’s claims. “The artist was aware of the risk of the item being stolen,” a rep said.
The Picasso Museum reportedly offered to mount the jacket on a more secure hanging system, but the artist declined. According to the museum, “He wanted people to be able to handle not only the postcards, but also the jacket.”
Additionally, the museum had written in its loan agreement with Vilanova that the jacket and postcards were “not insurable against the risk of theft” due to the interactive nature. According to Vilanova, the 150 postcards that were in the jacket pockets were also destroyed.
Eventually French police let the elderly woman, who told them she was “passionate” about art, go free with a warning, explaining that she had previously been placed under guardianship.
As for the dust jacket, it was returned to Vilanova, who will certainly now be much more selective in lending his work.
After reading the story of the elderly woman who accidentally stole part of a museum exhibit, learn about the stolen Kooning painting worth $160 million that was found in a couple’s home. ‘a small town. Then, see the artwork that was ruined by a couple who mistakenly thought it was interactive.