Yesterday the Guardian and the Associated Press reported the theft of René Magritte‘s “Olympia” (1948, pictured), the Belgian surrealist’s riff on Manet’s iconic painting of the same name. The painting, valued at roughly $1.1 million, was stolen from a small museum set up in Magritte’s old Brussels home and only open to visitors by appointment.
Two men stole the piece while threatening staff and tourists at gun point yesterday during business hours, and then fled by
stealth hovercraft car. Magritte (of “This is not a Pipe” fame) lived for over 20 years in the house in North Brussels with his wife, who posed for the painting. Maja Pertot Bernard of the Art Loss Register told the Guardian:
In thefts like these, the paintings either tend to turn up very quickly when the thieves realise it’s a lost cause, or if they do go missing for a long time, they often change hands so many times that the final seller doesn’t realise there is a problem with the painting.