IT MAY not go down in history as one of the great art heists of the 21st century, but brazen thieves managed to steal two paintings from an art gallery in the city in broad daylight.
The discovery was made after one of the artists spotted that her work was missing and asked if it had been sold, to the horror of the directors of the gallery, who discovered it was not the only work to disappear from the store.
Artist Sadhbh Lyons, who runs The Gallery on Bedford Row, with her son Eoghan, an award-winning photographer, wished to highlight the “shopping spree” in the hope that it may prevent the paintings from being sold on.
The missing paintings are ‘The Joker’, an unframed acrylic on board measuring 14in x 12in by local artist Lynda Ryan, and ‘Jade, an acrylic on canvas by Avril Henry depicting a cat and measuring 20in x16in, also unframed.
Images of the work have been passed on to gardai at Henry Street station, who are investigating the thefts, and who plan to circulate photographs around the country in the hope of retrieving them, or preventing them from being sold. It is believed the works were taken between mid-April and May 10, and gardai are now examining CCTV footage in the area around those times to identify the culprits.
“They came in during the day and I must have been distracted at the time, or they could have distracted Eoghan talking about a painting. They just came in and helped themselves. We are disgusted and so are the artists. I had taken in so many paintings, and some were hanging on the walls, and others were on the floor. It was an easy target, but we have upped up security now to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
The gallery opened last December under the Creative Limerick project, where the city council allows vacant buildings to be used for creative purposes free of charge if they can’t be let for commercial means. They plan to hold their official opening on Wednesday, May 30.
Call Henry Street station on 061 212400.