Houston Police search for Renoir painting thief


Courtesy of ABC13 KTRK-TV Houston, TX

The burglar took the Renoir painting from a home in the upscale neighborhood around Woodway and Chimney Rock near the Galleria back on September 8. The artwork called 'Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair' was painted by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in 1918. Today it's valued at around $1 million.

"It's a Renoir painting. It's highly recognizable. Someone who's in possession of that property can easily be identified," said Katherine Cabaniss, Executive Director of Crime Stoppers.

The suspect is described only as a white man wearing a ski mask. He had a black semi-automatic gun and pointed it at the victim and demanded money and jewelry. Then, police say, he pointed at the painting, and demanded it. He left with the painting still in its frame. The victim was not injured.

The Renoir stolen from the house was part of a private collection now housed at the Vaughan Christopher Gallery on S. Shepherd.

A neighboring business owner says there's been an extra constable presence there since the painting was stolen. And Cabaniss is confident that someone knows something about the case.

"It's unusual to see a burglary in which such unique property is stolen," she said.

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