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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Stolen €300,000 drawing recovered after 20 years

Tom Brady, Security Editor

Published 14/05/2014 | 02:30

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‘In The Omnibus’ by French artist Honore Daumier goes back on display at Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery yesterday after it was recovered by officers from CAB. The painting was ripped from a wall in June 1982 during a children’s art class
Students from Tullamore, Co Offaly, look at 'In the Omnibus' by the French artist Honore Daumier (1808 - 1879) at the Hugh Lane Gallery
Students from Tullamore, Co Offaly, look at 'In the Omnibus' by the French artist Honore Daumier at the Hugh Lane Gallery

A DRAWING estimated to be worth about €300,000 when it was stolen from a Dublin gallery more than two decades ago is back on show there.

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Officers from the Criminal Assets Bureau recovered the masterpiece during an investigation, which has not yet been completed.

The return of 'In the Omnibus' by French artist, Honore Daumier was announced yesterday in a joint statement from the Hugh Lane Gallery and the bureau.

But it was retrieved by the bureau last autumn following investigative work by one of its officers, Det Garda Philip Galvin.

Described as a beautiful watercolour and gouache drawing, it was part of an original collection presented by Hugh Lane to the gallery.

It was stolen in June, 1992, during a children's art class when it was ripped from the wall by a thief.

During a proceeds of crime investigation by the bureau late last year, the drawing was recovered but further details of the find are not being released at the moment because the inquiries are still on-oing.

The head of the bureau, Det Chief Supt Eugene Corcoran, paid tribute to Det Garda Galvin and his colleagues and said their investigative work led directly to "the recovery of this significant piece of artwork".

Gallery director Dr Barbara Dawson said: "It was shocking for me at the time. It was literally pulled off the wall. It was a very particular theft and interesting that it was that painting that someone went for. We weren't sure if it was a 'magpie' that like to have things to look at themselves or if it was stolen to order."

Dating from 1860, 'In the Omnibus' portrays three women, two men and a child travelling in a horse-drawn public transport vehicle through Paris.

Daumier was famous for his social commentary on life in France in the 1800s. He was jailed for six months after drawing a caricature of King Louis Philippe as Gargantua eating gold coins. Dr Dawson compared him to Jack B Yeats in his observations of everyday life.

Irish Independent

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