Portraits by Czech artist Gottfried Lindauer taken from Auckland gallery where they had been left on display behind glass front window
Two Lindauer draws that are together worth nearly NZ$ 1m have been plagiarized in Auckland in a ram-raid on an auctioneer mansion where they were left on display in the front window.
New Zealand police said the crime occurred at 4am on Saturday. The paintings done by Gottfried Lindauer in 1884 were taken from inside the glass space at the International Art Centre in Parnell.
The draws, Chieftainess NgataiRaure and Chief Ngatai-Raure, were due to be auctioned in the coming weeks. Their estimated value was between NZ $350,000 to NZ $450,000 each.
Police were concerned the draws is a possibility smuggled out of New Zealand. They had seen private vehicles allows one to ram the window and were searching for another.
Penelope Jackson, an expert on New Zealand prowes crime, said the heist was a misfortune and it would be very difficult for the thieves to sell the acclaimed draws in New Zealand, even on the black market.
Lindauer is very collectible and anyone who is trying to on-sell these works is going to have a real problem, she pronounced.
The heist has been so well publicised , now anyone looking to purchase a Lindauer simply needs to Google the works to come across this story.
Such heists are often conducted by opportunists looking to start speedy coin but the distinctive features of the paintings would start that very difficult.
These are strong, full-frontal undertakings, instantaneously recognisable. The thieves may have getting enough study to steal them by using a car, but they may not have fully experimented where and how they are going to be able to sell them.
Jackson pronounced frontier police and Interpol would have been alerted to keep a watchman for the plagiarized paintings but there was a risk they could previously have suffered damage.