Stolen Picasso and Chagall Paintings Found in Antwerp

Stolen Picasso and Chagall Paintings, Estimated at $900,000, Were Located in a Basement in Antwerp by the Belgian Police.

Jan 20, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Stolen Picasso and Chagall
Recovered pieces. Photo courtesy of Namur Parquet.


Stolen Picasso and Chagall paintings were discovered in a basement in Antwerp, by the Belgian authorities. Overall, the pieces went missing an Israeli family’s household fourteen years ago. But, thanks to the “delicate and meticulous investigation”, these $900,000 estimated pieces could revisit being part of museums and other cultural institutions.


Who Owned the Pieces?

Tête (1970). Photo courtesy of Namur Parquet.


Everything started with the Federal Judicial Police in the city of Namur getting a notice. Overall, the authority body received information that a citizen of Belgium attempted to sell Pablo Picasso‘s Tête (1970) in 2022. Also, Chagall’s L’homme en prière (1971). Local prosecutors with the Namur Parquet office provided this information through a statement translated from French.


The Belgian authorities did not identify the suspect in their statement. But, the Guardian identified the person in question as “Daniel Z”, a 68-year-old Israeli luxury watch dealer. “These two works were stolen from an art collector’s private residence in Tel Aviv, Israel, in February 2010”, prosecutors said.


Blind Minotaur Guided by a Girl in the Night,1934, via


“During this theft, jewelry with an estimated value of over $680,000 was also stolen. The estimated value of the two paintings at the time of the theft was $900,000”. The Guardian also found out who the owners of the pieces were. This is a family bearing the Herzikovic surname. The proprietors’ extra data did not remain readily available. According to Belgian prosecutors, the Herzikovic residence had an advanced, high-tech alarm system installed.

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Stolen Picasso and Chagall Are Only Paintings Removed

L’homme en prière (1971). Photo courtesy of Namur Parquet.


Nevertheless, the robbers were able to neutralise it and sneak into the house. At the time of the burglary, no one was home. Authorities claimed that in addition to the family treasures, the robbers only removed the artworks by Picasso and Chagall, leaving many other works hanging inside. For several months, federal authorities monitored the suspect’s whereabouts and routine. The goal was to confirm that he was the owner of the paintings.


On January 10, when police searched the suspect’s house, they discovered a “large sum of money,” but not the missing artwork. Prosecutors added that although the defendant at the time acknowledged owning the artworks, he declined to assist the police in learning where he was keeping them. At the conclusion of the hearing, he faced charges for handling stolen items.


Big Circus, 1956, sold for $16 million in 2007 at Sotheby’s New York.


The “beautiful discovery” of the stolen works came to light by authorities on January 12, the day following the court hearing, during a second search in Antwerp. The two paintings were discovered in two wooden crates with screwed-on lids in a basement, according to the prosecution, “properly packaged to prevent any deterioration.” They were still in their original frames and in perfect condition.

























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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.