Thursday, September 24, 2009
Magritte's Painting Olympia Stolen During Armed Robbery at Belgian Museum
oil on canvas 1948
Olympia painted in 1948 by Belgian surrealist René Magritte was stolen today by gun wielding thieves in a daylight heist at the Musée Magritte. The museum is housed in Magritte's former residence just outside Brussels and is dedicated to Magritte's art and life.
The Times online interviewed Johan Berckman’s, a policeman at the scene, who said: “At 10.10am this morning (24 Sept 2009) someone rang the bell of the museum asking if they could visit. He was let in and when he was inside he pulled out a pistol and ordered the woman to go back to the door to let a second person come inside.
“There were three museum workers inside at the time and two Japanese tourists. All five of them were ordered out the back and told to keep quiet by the man with the gun.
“In the museum the other person stole the painting and they both made good their escape. They seemed to know which painting they wanted to steal - they took the whole painting off the wall, including the frame.”
Fortunately no one was injured in the theft. But the loss of Olympia is a crushing blow for the small museum and the cultural patrimony of Belgium.
Armed thieves steal Magritte painting in daylight raid