Russian Thieves Posing as Cops Steal From 95-Year-Old Painter Pierre Soulages
At 10 pm the night of April 1, two men dressed as police officers arrived and entered his home in Sète, pretending to inquire about another recent theft that took place at the artist’s home.
After taking inventory of Soulages’s possessions, the two men stole an envelope containing €35,000 in cash. However, the artist quickly realized the envelope was missing and reported it to the police. The criminals were arrested, and the money was given back to the painter.
“They wanted to know where other valuables were hidden in the house. They were looking for hints about where these valuables would be located in the house. These are professionals. They came prepared. They spoke adequate French.” Soulages told Europe 1.
The suspects were of Russian nationality and one was a minor, they were officially identified by Soulages and his wife.
Pierre Soulages was born in Rodez, Aveyron in 1919, and is one of the most successful living artists in France (see artnet News’ Top 10 Most Expensive Living French Artists). His average auction price has increased by more than 500 percent since 2003, and paintings he made in the 1950s and 60s can fetch between $1 million and $4 million (see Pierre Soulages Breaks $4 Million Mark at Sotheby’s).
The painter’s 2009 retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou was the largest show the institution had ever given to a living artist and, last May, a museum solely dedicated to his work opened in his hometown Rodez, France (see Pierre Soulages, Happy to Live in the Dark).
His art works can be found in the most renowned institutions including the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York and the Tate Gallery in London.
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