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Picasso, Monets stolen in Dutch heist

“Harlequin Head,’’ by Pablo Picasso, was among the paintings stolen Tuesday from a Rotterdam museum.

Rotterdam Police/AP

“Harlequin Head,’’ by Pablo Picasso, was among the paintings stolen Tuesday from a Rotterdam museum.

AMSTERDAM — Thieves broke into a Rotterdam museum on Tuesday and walked off with works from the likes of Picasso, Monet, Gauguin, and Matisse potentially worth hundreds of millions.

Police have not said how the thieves pulled off the early-hours heist, but an expert who tracks stolen art said the robbers clearly knew what they were after. ‘‘Those thieves got one hell of a haul,’’ said Chris Marinello, who directs the Art Loss Register.

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The heist 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.

‘‘It’s every museum director’s worst nightmare,’’ said Kunsthal’s director, Emily Ansenk, who had been in Istanbul on business but returned immediately.

She declined to reveal any details of how the thieves got in and out with the paintings.

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The stolen works were: Picasso’s ‘‘Harlequin Head”; Monet’s ‘‘Waterloo Bridge, London’’ and ‘‘Charing Cross Bridge, London”; Matisse’s ‘‘Reading Girl in White and Yellow”; Gauguin’s ‘‘Girl in Front of Open Window”; Meyer de Haan’s ‘‘Self-Portrait,’ ; and Lucian Freud’s ‘‘Woman with Eyes Closed.’’

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