Magritte painting stolen at gunpoint
Friday 25 September 2009
The Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte once said: "We must not fear daylight just because it almost always illuminates a miserable world." Two armed thieves put the artist's words into practice yesterday. They walked in broad daylight into a small museum in Brussels, put a gun to the head of a female employee and stole a nude painting of the artist's wife, valued at up to €3m (£2.7m).
"Two men, one of them Asian, one speaking English the other French, armed with a revolver, entered the museum just after it opened," said André Garitte, the curator of the Museé René Magritte in Jette, a northern suburb of the Belgian capital.
The two men, who were not masked, forced three employees and two Japanese tourists at gunpoint to lie down in the back yard. One of them climbed over a 5ft-high glass screen and removed the 60cm by 80cm canvas and its frame from the wall.
The stolen work, Olympia, painted in 1948, shows Magritte's wife, Georgette, reclining naked with a sea shell on her stomach. The canvas was painted in the house, now a small museum, where the raid took place. It was the painter's home for 24 years.
Johan Berckmans, a police spokesman, said: "This morning someone rang the bell of the museum asking if they could visit. He was let in and when inside he pulled out a pistol and ordered the woman to go back to the door to let a second person come inside. They fled on foot with the painting and left the scene in a car. The investigation is continuing but we have found no trace of the culprits."
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson in official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'