PARIS – At least two Pablo Picasso paintings worth a total of nearly $66 million were stolen from the house of the artist's granddaughter in Paris, police said Wednesday.
The paintings, "Maya and the Doll" and "Portrait of Jacqueline," disappeared overnight Monday to Tuesday from the chic 7th arrondissement, or district, a Paris police official said.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said they were worth nearly $66 million, and that there were signs of breaking and entering in the house.
The Art Loss Register, which maintains the world's largest database on stolen, missing and looted art, lists 549 missing Picasso pieces, including paintings, lithographs, drawings and ceramics.
The number of missing Picassos is so high simply because Picasso was so prolific, said Antonia Kimbell, a staff member with the register. She said the Paris theft was "definitely quite significant."
Although police only mentioned the two paintings, the director of the Picasso Museum, Anne Baldassari, said several paintings and drawings were stolen from the home of Diana Widmaier-Picasso, an art historian and author of a book called "Art Can Only be Erotic."
"It was a very large theft," she said, without giving details.
"Maya and the Doll" is a colorful portrait Widmaier-Picasso's mother as a young blond girl in pigtails, eyes askew in a Cubist perspective. Maya is the daughter of Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter, his companion from 1924-44.
"Portrait of Jacqueline" depicts Picasso's last wife.
Among recent missing Picassos is an abstract watercolor stolen in Mexico, Kimbell said.
Major stolen pieces usually sell for a pittance, if at all, on the black market because potential buyers are afraid to touch them.
"It's unlikely a legitimate dealer would purchase or acquire any of these pieces," Kimbell said.