Magritte painting stolen from Brussels museum

25th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Thieves stole a painting by Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte in broad daylight on Thursday from a Brussels museum dedicated to his life and works, the museum's curator told AFP.

The 1948 nude, entitled "Olympia" and estimated to be worth up to EUR 3 million (USD 4.4 million), was stolen by two people, one of them armed, the official said.

"Two individuals, one of them Asian, one speaking French, the other English, came into the museum armed with a pistol shortly after it opened" at around 10h00 local time, curator Andre Garitte told AFP.

"The two men, whose faces weren't covered, forced two or three employees to lie down in the courtyard of the museum," he said. One of the thieves then climbed a glass panel protecting the work from the public and stole it.

A Brussels police spokesman said: "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."

The area was being checked for fingerprints, he said.

The museum, in the west of the Belgian capital, is in a house where the painter lived and worked for 24 years, and completed around half of his works.

Apart from paintings, there are about 100 personal objects and documents which can only be visited on request.

The oil painting depicts Magritte's wife Georgette laying with a shell on her stomach and measures 60 by 80 centimetres (around 24 by 32 inches).


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