10 Missing Masterpieces That Have Never Been Found

Above is one of the Charing Cross series not the stolen one.

7. Charing Cross Bridge by Claude Monet

Between 1899 and 1904, French painter Claude Monet, the founder of the Impressionist movement, would create an iconic series of oil paintings depicting Charing Cross Bridge. Monet traveled to London to capture its sights from the fifth-floor balcony of the Savoy Hotel. He was captivated by London’s fog, which gave his paintings a misty, almost ethereal visage.

His time in London would see an explosion of creativity as Monet would be extremely prolific, beginning nearly 100 paintings. All in all, Monet would complete thirty-seven oil paintings of Charing Cross Bridge, only twelve of which he finished in London, the rest he took back to his Giverny studio for completion.

On October 16, 2012, the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam was showing avant-garde art work by more than 150 artists from the Triton Foundation as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations. At 3 a.m. thieves broke in to the museum and made off with seven masterpieces.

Apart from Monet’s Charing Cross Bridge, another of his works depicting Waterloo Bridge was also taken, along with Picasso’s Tete d’Arlequin, Gauguin’s Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte, Matisse’s La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune, De Haan’s Autoportrait, and Lucian Freud’s Woman with Eyes Closed.

Despite the alarms being triggered, the thieves had made their escape by the time the police arrived, much to the chagrin of the Rotterdam police who believed the museum had a state of the art security system.

In July 2013 a group of Romanian thieves would be arrested for the robbery, however the story has a far from happy ending. One of the thieves, Radu Dogaru, when confessing to his involvement in the theft, claimed that his mother Olga in an effort to protect her son, had buried the art in an abandoned house and then in a cemetery in the village of Caracliu. Later digging the paintings up and burning them, destroying millions of dollars of artwork.

When the trial took place she would deny doing any of this but investigators discovered pigments and nails of the correct age for the stolen paintings in her fireplace. Despite this compelling evidence and Ms. Dogaru’s subsequent admission, albeit one she later retracted in court, sadly the paintings are still listed as missing, and the investigation continues.

Explore 300 of Monet’s greatest works here 

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