On 15 April this year, several artworks, including eleven lithographs by Picasso, were stolen in a German bank, the Portigon Financial Services AG, located in North Rhine-Westphalia.
These works are part of the company collection gathered for several years by the bank WestLB (the former name of Portigon AG before it went bankrupt during the 2008 crisis). The bank had placed its collection in a safe after the bankrupt of WestLB, which used to exhibit it within its walls. In 2014, the bank had made public its will to sell part of the 380 pieces of the collection and had provoked some anger from the Association of German Art Historians, which had campaigned against this sale, as they considered it a means to pay off the company’s debts. Portigon AG had finally renounced to this sale and decided to store the collection in a safe before selling it to a public institution. The collection comprises 380 pieces, including works of Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and August Macke.
Among the stolen artworks were eleven lithographs by Picasso, estimated to a total amount of more than $1.1 million.