It was a crime that shocked art lovers around the world, none more so than admirers of Claude Monet. Two of the acclaimed impressionist’s works were stolen in a 2012 heist in the Netherlands. To make matters worse, it’s highly unlikely the paintings, including most notably Charing Cross Bridge, will ever be recovered. Indeed, many fans have resigned themselves to the fact that Monet’s missing masterpiece was actually burned in an oven in the summer of 2013.
The story, investigators believe, actually started on the dating app Tinder. At some point in 2012, a man and a woman in Romania struck up a conversation that eventually turned to talk of making millions by stealing valuable art works. So, when the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam opened a new show of modern and contemporary art in the autumn of 2012, the pair saw their chance. According to the police, they broke in at around 3am in the morning. Though they triggered the supposed state-of-the-art alarm system, by the time officers arrived on the scene, the thieves were gone. As were seven paintings, including the valuable Charing Cross Bridge, Monet’s depiction of the crossing over the River Thames in London in the fog.
No exact price has been placed on the stolen works, though some experts say they could have fetched “hundreds of millions” on the black market. However, it’s likely they never even reached a buyer. When police identified their prime suspects and swooped in July 2013, the mother of one of the thieves revealed that she had burned several paintings in order to protect her son. Though she subsequently backtracked on the claim, police did find traces of paint and even nails from vintage frames in her fireplace. All the clues point to the missing Monet being lost for good.