Early this morning in Stockholm, thieves stole a bronze sculpture and etchings by Salvador Dalí. The works were on display at the Couleur Gallery in the Östermalm district of the country’s capital city. The theft has been described as a smash and grab, and one that’s added to the list of artworks stolen in recent months, which includes another etching by the surrealist artist.
‘They were worth 200,000 to 500,000 crowns (£16,000 to £40,000) each,’ said Peder Enstrom, owner of Couleur, regarding the sculptures on display at the gallery to TT, a news agency ‘So, it’s quite a lot of money. It’s terrible.’
The sculpture, a tabletop bronze measuring between 10 and 12 inches, and the etching were part of a small exhibit of about 10 works by Dalí that had been on display for just over a week. The show was meant to run through Saturday and included some of Dalí’s well-known melting clocks hanging from trees. The Dalí works were on loan to the gallery from Switzerland.
The New York Times reported that ‘at least two thieves’ were involved in the theft that occurred sometime around 4 a.m., when the alarm at the gallery sounded. Shortly after, police were on the scene but the thieves were gone. Having smashed the gallery’s glass door, the thieves entered and quickly made off with the stolen works. ‘The scene has been cordoned off so that forensics can carry out an examination,’ said Stockholm police in a statement. While the investigation continues, there have been no arrests as of yet.
The Stockholm theft follows another incident in which an etching by Dalí was taken from a San Francisco gallery. In October, a man walked into Dennis Rae Fine Art and walked out with La Girafe en Feu (The Giraffe on Fire), an etching made by the surrealist in the 1960s. Unlike the Stockholm theft, the San Francisco theft happened at the end of the working day in broad daylight. Usually strapped to its easel, the artwork was not that day and the perpetrator has yet to be found at the time of this report.
Theft and the art world go hand in hand and recently, it seems that each month brings another report of stolen works. Without much regulation, the art industry is beat out only by drugs and weaponry as the most lucrative illicit trade industry. Hopefully, the recently stolen works by Dalí are found sooner rather than later to make for an unusually happy ending to such an event.