Pretoria art museum thieves arrived with ‘shopping list’

2012-11-12 07:25

The five paintings that were stolen from the Pretoria Art Museum in Arcadia included an Irma Stern, worth R9 million, and a Gerard Sekoto, worth R7 million, according to a report.

A sixth painting, Irma Stern’s “Two Malay Musicians”, valued at R12 million, was dumped on the pavement outside the museum after the robbery yesterday morning, apparently because the criminals were unable to fit it into their getaway car, a silver Toyota Avanza, Beeld reported today.

They also made off with Maggie Laubser’s “Cat and Petunias”, valued at R1 million, JH Pierneef’s “Eland and Bird”, valued at R45 000, and Hugo Naude’s “Hottentot Chief”, worth R300 000.

According to museum staff, the thieves arrived with a “shopping list” of what they wanted, and demanded to be given specific paintings.

After holding staff member Daywood Khan at gunpoint, they took out their list, and demanded to know where the paintings were.

Museum curator Dirk Oegema said the robbery would be discussed at an urgent management meeting today.

Art expert Stephen Welz said the theft was a tragedy, but that he was puzzled by it, as famous works of art were so well documented that it was nearly impossible to sell them, locally or abroad.

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