Brazilian Police Find Stolen Picasso, Portinari Paintings

RIA Novosti Photo

RIO DE JANEIRO (RIA Novosti) — Police in Brazil have recovered two paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari worth an estimated $56 million which were stolen last month from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, local officials said.

The ‘Portrait of Suzanne Bloch’ by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, worth around $50 million, and ‘The Coffee Worker’ by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari, estimated at $6 million, are "in absolutely perfect condition" and will go on display on Friday, the museum said.

Police arrested two suspects and recovered the stolen paintings on the outskirts of Sao Paulo Tuesday, a police spokesman said.

Officials said the theft was carried out by professionals. The thieves broke into the museum when the guards were changing shifts December 20. Security cameras showed three men removing the paintings from separate rooms with a crowbar and a car jack in less than three minutes.

The museum had no alarm system installed and the paintings were not insured. After the theft the museum received $1.7 million to improve security.

The art thieves are believed to have attempted to steal the paintings in late October but were unsuccessful and ended up running away empty handed.