“Maya with Doll” is a portrait of Pablo Picasso’s daughter, Maya Widmaier Picasso, as a child clutching a doll.


Two important paintings by Picasso, estimated by the police to be worth about €50 million have been stolen from the Left Bank home of the artist’s granddaughter, Diana Widmaier Picasso, the Paris police said .

The police said the two oils, “Maya with Doll” and “Portrait of Jacqueline,” …

were taken from Widmaier Picasso’s house on the rue de Grenelle in the city’s chic Seventh Arrondissement early this week.

The police said that two drawings, one by Picasso and another unsigned, had also been stolen, but this could not be confirmed by the Picasso family lawyer, Céline Astolfe.

In a telephone interview, Astofle said that Widmaier and her mother, Maya Widmaier Picasso, the daughter of Picasso’s longtime mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, were asleep in the house when the theft occurred, Astolfe said.

“They heard a noise, went downstairs and saw nothing,” Astolfe said. “They went to bed and the following morning they saw that two paintings were missing.”

The lawyer said the theft appeared to be the work of professionals because alarms had been neutralized and there were no signs of a break-in.

“They blocked the alarm and they had either the code or keys,” she said.

Although the paintings formed part of the Picasso family’s large private collection of the artist’s works, they are nonetheless well known and, art experts said, would be difficult to sell on the open market. Astolfe said their value may exceed the police estimate of $66 million.

“Maya with Doll” is a colorful 1938 Cubist portrait of Picasso’s daughter as a child clutching a doll, while “Portrait of Jacqueline” is a black, gray and white Cubist oil of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s second wife, whom he married in 1961. It was painted the same year.

Thefts of works by Picasso are relatively common, not least because he was so prolific.

London’s Art Loss Register lists 444 missing Picassos on its data base, including paintings, lithographs, drawings and ceramics. There is also an active industry making and selling fake Picassos.

One notorious theft involved 12 Picasso paintings taken from the Cannes home of Marina Picasso, another of the artist’s granddaughters, in 1989. These oils were later recovered. Seven other Picasso oils were stolen from a gallery in Zurich in 1994 and have still to be found.

Neither Diana Widmaier Picasso nor her mother could be reached Wednesday. Like other members of the family, they are active in studying and overseeing Picasso’s legacy. Maya Widmaier Picasso is often called on to verify questionable works attributed to Picasso, while her art historian daughter recently published an illustrated book of Picasso’s erotic works called “Art Can Only be Erotic.”