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."
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre