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Wednesday, 14 November 2012 17:13

Stolen South African Paintings Recovered

A member of the canine unit recovered four paintings stolen from South Africa’s Pretoria Art Museum in a private cemetery on Tuesday, November 13. While the paintings still need to be verified, police officials are almost certain they are Maggie Laubser’s Cat and Petunias (1936), JH Pierneef’s Eland and Bird (1961), Irma Stern’s Fishing Boats (1931), and Hugo Naude’s Hottentot Chief, all of which disappeared after an armed robbery took place at the museum on November 11. Gerard Sekoto’s Street Scene (1939) is still missing.

The Pretoria Museum closed after the heist and will re-open on November 20 after officials finish a number of updates to the institution’s security system. The robbers entered the museum as paying visitors on Sunday but there is no surveillance footage as the museum’s security cameras had stopped working earlier in the week.

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Monday, 12 November 2012 14:27

A $2 Million Art Heist in South Africa

A sharp upswing in the value of South Africa’s best-known art has led to the country’s biggest art heist. Posing as paying visitors at the Pretoria Art Museum, three men proceeded to hold the museum staff at gunpoint and walk away with works by local masters Irma Stern, Gerard Sekoto, JH Pierneef, Maggie Laubser, and Hugo Naude.

Images of the criminals were not recorded because the museum’s camera surveillance system broke down on November 8, three days before the heist. Officials did alert Interpol. The three criminals left behind the most expensive piece in the museum’s collection, Two Malay Musicians by Irma Stern, due to lack of space in their getaway car. Works by other well-known South African artists such as William Kentridge, Walter Battiss, and Robert Hodgins were left untouched.

The five stolen artworks were owned by the City of Tshwane and were insured.

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