The owner of artworks worth almost R3 million that were stolen from a home in Saxonwold in less than 10 minutes is offering a R50 000 reward for information leading to the return of the pieces.
The works include an Irma Stern portrait, Nude, from 1949 and a drawing by William Kentridge titled Woman Leaping.
Stern’s art rank among the most expensive produced by a South African, with the most costly piece fetching R21 million at auction.
The stolen Stern portrait is valued at R1.5 million, while the Kentridge is estimated to be worth R100 000. The theft took place on July 31 after several unarmed men arrived in a truck at the Saxonwold house.
They told the domestic worker they had come to repair the underfloor heating. The 70-year-old employee went down to the main entrance and opened the front door to open the gate, allowing them access.
Once the men were inside the property the worker became suspicious but she was overpowered and shut in one of the rooms as the gang grabbed valuable items, including the artworks, the owner’s wine collection and some household items.
Richard Pearson, a director at insurance investigation firm John Pearson and Associates, said the incident was not the first in the area.
“It seems they were targeting households in the area on the day and visiting various premises randomly and eventually someone opened up who didn’t realise what was going on.”
Investigations had shown the domestic worker was not involved, he added. Generally artworks are easily recovered as it’s very difficult to find buyers unless specific ones have asked for it.
The vehicle has been identified and a police investigation is ongoing. An insurance company has offered a reward for information. – firstname.lastname@example.org