Portraits by Czech artist Gottfried Lindauer taken away from Auckland gallery where they had been left on display behind glass front window
Two Lindauer depicts that are together worth practically NZ$ 1m have been stolen in Auckland in a ram-raid on an auction home where the latter are left on display in the front window.
New Zealand police said here stealing occurred at 4am on Saturday. The portraits done by Gottfried Lindauer in 1884 were taken from inside the glass window at the International Art Centre in Parnell.
The depicts, 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 depicts may be smuggled out of New Zealand. They had acquired the vehicle allows one to ram the window and were searching for another.
Penelope Jackson, technical experts on New Zealand art violation, said here robbery was a misfortune and it would be very difficult for the thieves to sell the famous depicts 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 trouble, she supposed.
The heist has been so well publicised , now anyone looking to purchase a Lindauer merely needs to Google the works to come across this story.
Such heists are often conducted by opportunists looking to build quick fund but the distinctive nature of the portraits would build that very difficult.
These are powerful, full-frontal employments, instantaneously recognisable. The thieves may have done enough experiment to steal them by using a vehicle, but they may not have exhaustively experimented where and how they are going to be able to sell them.
Jackson supposed border police and Interpol would have been alerted to keep a sentry for the stolen portraits but there was a risk they could already have suffered damage.