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'I burned stolen Picasso': Thief's mum

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'I burned stolen Picasso': Thief's mum
Picasso painted the stolen El Loco (cabeza de arlequín), or the madman (harlequin head), in 1971, two years prior to his death at the age of 91. Photo: Valérie Hache/AFP
11:55 CEST+02:00
A painting by Pablo Picasso that was stolen from a Dutch art gallery in October of last year has allegedly been burned to a crisp by the mother of one of the thieves.

Investigators in Romania have found the remains of paint, canvas and nails in the oven of a woman whose son has been charged with stealing artworks by Picasso, Monet, Matisse and other renowned artists in a haul worth between €100 million ($130 million) and €200 million.

According to the BBC, Olga Dogaru admitted last week to torching the paintings to “destroy evidence” and prevent police from pointing the finger at her son.

Mrs Dogaru also reportedly claimed to have hidden the artwork in an abandoned house, as well as in a cemetery in the Romanian village of Carcaliu.

She said she dug them up and then incinerated them after police began searching her village.

"I placed the suitcase containing the paintings in the stove,” she told Romanian Mediafax news agency.

Her son is one of six Romanians who have been charged with involvement in what was the biggest art theft in Holland since 20 works disappeared from Amsterdam's Van Gogh museum in 1991.

According to Mrs Dogaru, the group struggled to find a buyer after the Russian mafia and a Romanian fashion designer turned down the paintings.

As for the stolen painting by Picasso, it was not one of his most famous works.

He painted El Loco (cabeza de arlequín), or The Madman (harlequin head), in 1971, two years prior to his death at the age of 91.

It was one of several paintings of harlequins the Malaga artist painted during his lifetime, probably influenced by his close relationship with circus people during his time in France as a young man.

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