- Man posing as customer walked into Manhattan gallery and put it in a bag
- The painting - Dali's 1949 Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio - is worth $150,000
A man walked into an upmarket New York art gallery and snatched a $150,000 Salvado Dali painting from the wall.
The audacious thief posed as a customer at the Venus Over Manhattan art gallery, on Madison Avenue, before he removed the small watercolour and ink painting and put it into a bag,
The piece, Dali's Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio which was painted in 1949, formed part of the gallery's inaugural exhibition.
|Audacious: The thief, who was posing as a customer, was caught on CCTV leaving the gallery with the painting's frame poking out of his bag|
Gallery owner and art dealer Adam Lindemann told police the thief took the piece during 'regular business hours, with a security guard', the New York Post reported.
According to the New York Post, the man told the security guard: 'I want to take a picture of this painting.'
He was given permission, on the condition he did not use a flash, but when the guard was distracted by another gallery visitor the thief slipped the painting off the wall and put it into his bag.
Police are now hunting the man, who was captured on the gallery's CCTV leaving with the artwork.
|Stolen: The $150,000 Dali painting - Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio - was completed in 1949 and formed part of the gallery's inaugural exhibition|
|Surrealist: Spanish artist Salvador Dali, who died in 1989, was famous for his paintings of melted clocks and dream-like landscapes|
Surveillance footage shows the man carrying a heavyweight paper shopping bag into the third-floor gallery.
The CCTV footage shows the frame from the painting poking out of the top of his shopping bag.
Jacquie Tellalian, a 58-year-old visitor to the gallery, told the New York Post: 'We went inside to see the show, and we were wondering where the Salvador Dali painting was.
'It’s a small painting, but how did he just put in his bag and walk out like that? I hope somebody finds it.'
The suspect is a white man, about 5ft 6in, 160lbs and aged between 35 and 42 years.
Detectives say he was wearing a black and white checked shirt as well as dark coloured jeans and shoes.
Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali, who died in 1989, was famous for his paintings of melted clocks and dream-like landscapes.