Where’s Sherlock Holmes when you need him?
Just before noon on Tuesday, a sharply dressed man looted the Picasso pencil drawing “Tête de Femme” (A Woman’s Head) from the Weinstein Gallery on San Francisco’s Geary Street. He reportedly snatched the framed work, valued at more than $200,000, from the gallery’s entrance and then took off in a taxi.
Picasso originally gave the sketch to his driver Maurice Bresnu as a gift. The Weinstein gallery recently acquired the work for $122,500 at a May auction, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Gallery president Roland Weinstein told the San Francisco Examiner that he’s never been the victim of a heist, and he hopes the work will be returned soon so that the public can continue to enjoy such fine art.
“Most galleries that show this caliber of artwork don’t put it on street level,” he said. “It’s very upsetting, because my goal is to keep this kind of work accessible to the public, and there’s always a risk to that.”
Works by the Spanish artist have always been hot commodities; just last year, a thief swiped his “Le pigeon aux petits pois” (The Pigeon with Peas) from Paris’s Museum of Modern Art.
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But Sharon Flescher, art historian and head of the International Foundation For Art Research, told the Chronicle that it will be difficult for the thief to sell a stolen work.
Police are asking San Franciscans to keep their eyes peeled for the thief: a six-foot, 30-35-year-old man sporting glasses, a white shirt, dark jacket, dark pants, and loafers sans socks.
The high-end gallery also showcases work by renowned modern artists Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, and Joan Miró.
PHOTOS: Cy Twombly, 1928-2011