A spectacular €100 million, or $127 million, burglary at the Paris modern art museum in May and the trial next month of three men in connection with an audacious heist at the Left Bank apartment of a Picasso granddaughter have laid bare how susceptible the keepers of great art are to the efforts of seemingly meticulous thieves.

In waltzing away with five paintings at three galleries at the Museum of Modern Art — including works by Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani — burglars appear to have identified the single window with a flawed security alarm, the rhythm of the security guards’ nightly rounds and the multitude of lesser artworks to avoid.

Similarly, in the crime at the center of the imminent trial — the late-night theft of two valuable Picasso paintings — the thieves used a carefully molded fake key to enter the apartment, worked quietly enough not to awaken the granddaughter while cutting the paintings from their frames and rifling through her purse, and left without leaving fingerprints or a trace of DNA.

The identity of the thieves in both cases remains a mystery — the trial involves three people accused only of trying to fence the Picassos, not of having stolen them — leaving the art world here saturated in speculation about the crimes and baffling questions beyond them. Read full article in International Herald Tribune...