Freud, Lucian, Woman with Eyes Closed, 2002
De Haan, Meyer, Self-Portrait, 1890
Gauguin, Paul, Girl in Front of Open Window, 1898
Matisse, Henri, REading Girl in White and Yellow, 1919
Monet, Claude, Charing Cross Bridge, London, 1901
Monet, Claude, Waterloo Bridge, London, 1901
Picasso, Pablo, Harlequin Head, 1971
If Olga Dogaru's incredible and tragic tale turns out to be true, and we will have to wait months for research to conclusively prove that it is, there is someone alive in Carcaliu, Romania, who has been totally unaffected by the mystique of great paintings. And her son, Radu, if, in fact, he did steal the paintings from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, dared to take brilliant paintings off a venerated museum's walls, motivated solely by a monetary return, proves to be his mother's son. Clueless.
You have to ask yourself if the thieves, whoever they turn out to be, had even thought of how they were going to cash in. Where were they going to find someone willing to risk housing the seven famous paintings? Who were they going to sell them to? Who would be stupid enough to buy them for the kind of prices they must have imagined with the entire world hunting for them? The answer has to be that they were blinded by money, which has to make you think of the enormous prices paid for art reported over the last several decades.
But the plot thickens, according to Olga. If you are from the US, you remember the ad with the dog and the bone he is "worried, worried" about before he finds Travelers Insurance. For those of you who haven't seen it, a cute little dog keeps trying to protect his bone, first in his bed, then in his backyard, then at the bank, each time being kept awake by worry, worry... Does this remind you of Olga? First the house, then her sister's house, then her garden, then the cemetery... Worry made her do it.
The Cremation, that is. If you missed this story, consult the July 19, New York Times, front page. In summary, Olga Dogaru claims that, in order to protect her son, who brought home a suitcase of beautiful paintings, she incinerated all 7 works by Picasso, Matisse, Gauguin, Monet, etc. Was she thinking of Habeus Corpus? If they don't find the body, they can't prove murder? Olga clearly has a big stove: 7 paintings, wood for burning, and her plastic slippers... Why the slippers?
In the end, we're all hoping that these brilliant works of art have only just "disapparated" up the chimney like wizards in the Harry Potter books and will "apparate" back in the Rotterdam Kunsthal safe and sound.