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Million dollar art heist in Netherlands

Paintings by Picasso, Matisse, and Monet are among several stolen from a Dutch art gallery in Rotterdam.

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Police officers guard a cordoned off area at the rear side of the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012. Several paintings have been stolen from a museum in the Dutch city of Rotterdam that was exhibiting works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Vincent van Gogh.

Peter Dejong/AP

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Seven paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet were stolen from a museum in Rotterdam in an early-hours heist, Dutch police said Tuesday.

The theft at the Kunsthal museum is one of the largest in years in the Netherlands, and is a stunning blow for the private Triton Foundation collection, which was being exhibited publicly as a group for the first time.

The collection was on display as part of celebrations surrounding Kunsthal's 20th anniversary.

Police spokeswoman Willemieke Romijn said investigators were reviewing videotapes of the theft, which took place around 3 a.m. local time, and calling for any witnesses to come forward. Police have yet to reveal how the heist took place.

The stolen works were Picasso's 1971 "Harlequin Head"; Monet's 1901 "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London"; Henri Matisse's 1919 "Reading Girl in White and Yellow"; Paul Gauguin's 1898 "Girl in Front of Open Window"; Meyer de Haan's "Self-Portrait," around 1890, and Lucian Freud's 2002 work "Woman with Eyes Closed."

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