Stolen art found in Bay

Gareth Wilson and Sipho Masombuka

FOUR of the five paintings stolen from the Pretoria Art Museum in a brazen heist on Sunday were found stashed under a bench in a Port Elizabeth churchyard yesterday.

The pieces, found after an anonymous tip-off to police, are Irma Stern’s 1931 masterpiece Fishing Boats valued at R9-million, Maggie Laubser’s 1936 Cat and Petunias valued at R1-million, Hugo Naude’s Hottentot Chief worth R300 000 – all oils on canvas – and JH Pierneef’s Eland and Bird valued at R45 000, a gouache drawing on paper. Gerard Sekoto’s Street Scene worth R7-million is, however, still missing.

The Tshwane Municipality has confirmed that the four recovered paintings were the ones stolen from the Pretoria Art Museum in an armed robbery.

Spokesman Pieter de Necker said their curators analysed the back and front photos of the paintings sent by the Eastern Cape police and confirmed their authenticity.

He said it was interesting that Sekoto’s painting was still missing.

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