In just three minutes, they used a hydraulic jack to prise open the main door and a crowbar to smash a glass door, police said.
The museum, known as MASP, had no alarm system and no sensors. Video security cameras captured some of the raid but, since it had no infrared capability, the images were obscure.
“It is absurd that the most important museum in
MASP president Julio Neves said the museum lacked the finances for a good security system.
“We don’t have the resources for it. Now, we are going to update. We can improve some equipment,” Neves, an architect who has run MASP for the past 10 years, told reporters at an official cultural event.
Despite its famed collection, the museum on
‘ANNOYED AND CONCERNED’ – CULTURE SECRETARY
The total collection, which includes works from European masters including Velazquez and modern artists like Dali, was not insured, the museum said.
A MASP spokesman said earlier on Friday that until now, the museum had considered the security adequate.
“MASP opted for security by patrolling, with people and cameras. There is no alarm system and this has worked successfully for the museum’s 60-year history,” he said.
In October, two thieves tried to break into the museum but were spotted and fled. Police were working on the theory it might be the same gang who mounted Thursday’s raid.
“We are annoyed and concerned,” he said. “This complicates the administration of the museum, which is already suffering a financial crisis.”
The Picasso portrait of singer Suzanne Bloch was painted in 1904 and is considered the last important work of the Spaniard’s “Blue Period.” Bergamin said it could be worth as much as $50 million. Portinari’s “The Coffee Worker,” painted in 1939 and featuring a laborer on a coffee plantation, is one of
His son, Joao Candido Portinari, called its loss “a real tragedy.”
Police inspector Marcos de Moura, who is leading the investigation, said on Thursday that police suspected the robbery might have been ordered by a private collector who wanted the paintings for his personal enjoyment.
But Joao Portinari told Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that was unlikely and the thieves might try to ransom them.
The international police agency Interpol, which manages a database of stolen works of art, said it had alerted member countries to the theft of the two paintings.
(Additional reporting by Fernanda Ezabella)