The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Thieves in South Africa steal $2 million worth of art at the Pretoria Art Museum in Johannesburg
A 1931 Irma Stern "Fishing Boats" oil on canvas. Police in South Africa said Monday that robbers posing as visitors to an art museum stole more than $2 million worth of art including "fishing boats" from an exhibit near the country's capital. (AP Photo/The City of Tshwane.

By: Jon Gambrell, Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG (AP).- Thieves posing as eager art students with their teacher stole more than $2 million worth of paintings from a museum in South Africa's capital in a daring armed robbery, authorities said Monday.

The theft Sunday at the Pretoria Art Museum saw robbers calmly pay $2.25 apiece for tickets and ask a curator to show them specific paintings at the gallery before they pulled out pistols and forced all others to the ground, officials said. They tied up the curator and others before collecting the paintings they previously asked about, official said.

The robbers favored oil paintings in their theft, grabbing a 1931 painting by famous South African artist Irma Stern of brightly colored sailboats waiting against a pier, city spokesman Pieter de Necker said. Other works stolen included a gouache drawing of an eland and bird by South African landscape artist J.H. Pierneef, a pastel-toned street scene by Gerard Sekoto, a thick-stroked oil painting of a chief by Hugo Naude and a picture of a cat near a vase full of petunias by Maggie Laubser.

The robbers, though apparently having done their homework, left behind another oil painting by Stern showing two musicians because they were not able to fit the painting inside their getaway car, a silver sedan, de Necker said. The thieves left as private security guards at the museum drew close to them, he said.

The museum closed Monday for the week and removed its most valuable remaining possessions for safekeeping, the city spokesman said. Authorities say they now plan to increase security to prevent thefts there. However, the video surveillance cameras at the museum had stopped working on Thursday, de Necker said.

South African authorities had been alerted in case the thieves tried to take the art work outside of the country, said Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale, a spokeswoman for the South African Police Service. She declined to offer any other specifics about the crime, saying police still were piecing together what actually happened at the museum.

"The investigation is continuing," the lieutenant colonel said. "Every measure is being put in place."

Violent crime and murders remain common in South Africa, but high-profile art thefts are rare. In February 2011, thieves stole four small, limited-edition prints by South African artist William Kentridge from a gallery in Johannesburg. Thieves also have targeted bronze statutes in other South African museums, with authorities believing they are actually simply sold for their scrap metal value.

De Necker said he and others believe the thieves were commissioned to go after those specific pieces because of their behavior at the museum.

"We're very, very surprised. It is very uncommon," the spokesman said. "We have realized also that over the last few years ... the overseas market has grown into wanting South African art."

Art theft is the third most lucrative crime in the world, after drugs and illicit arms sales, according to Interpol and the FBI. However, actually selling famous works remains difficult for criminals either locally where the theft happened or abroad, authorities say. Despite the challenges, estimates suggest there are billions of dollars made in stolen art sales annually across the world.



Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.





Today's News

November 13, 2012

Archaeologists discover human burials that signal the final phase of Pre-Hispanic period

Major international loan exhibition at the Getty Museum explores the art that gave rise to the Renaissance

Thieves in South Africa steal $2 million worth of art at the Pretoria Art Museum in Johannesburg

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University opens new Zaha Hadid-designed building

Edward Hopper's Vermont watercolors featured in new book by Bonnie Tocher Clause

Major early work by Mikhail Larionov to headline MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions

Trisha Donnelly organizes exhibition of works from MoMA's collection as part of Artist's Choice Series

South Korea's top cultural treasure, Namdaemun (South Gate), rises from the ashes

Phillips de Pury & Co. announces Robert Kennan appointed to be head of London Editions Department

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art 'crown jewels' are highlight at Shanghai exhibition

Deutsche Bank to run Berlin contemporary art museum without Guggenheim Foundation

A new falcon flies for Tefaf Maastricht: The fair that defines excellence in art focuses on three core values

First ever full-scale survey of Jim Shaw's work opens at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Ravenel's inaugural Fine Jewels and Jadeite Sale led by a fancy intense blue and pink diamonds ring

Silver centrepiece depicting a railway bridge which inspired Claude Monet on sale at Bonhams

First career-spanning monograph of American master Harold Feinstein to be published by Nazraeli Press

Tate Britain opens major display featuring works by Ian Hamilton FInlay

$100,000+ Hermes Diamond Birkin tops epic holiday offering of luxury handbags at Heritage Auctions

Antik A.S. to offer masterpieces of modern & contemporary Turkish art

Evocative Japanese bamboo art at Bellevue Arts Museum

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site