$200,000 Picasso drawing swiped from San Francisco gallery
The Picasso pencil drawing "Tête de Femme" (Head of a Woman) and the suspect caught on surveillance video walking away on Tuesday.
July 6th, 2011
12:54 PM ET

$200,000 Picasso drawing swiped from San Francisco gallery

A Pablo Picasso drawing worth more than $200,000 was taken from a San Francisco art gallery on Tuesday in a brazen midday theft, according to local media reports.

The pencil drawing, titled "Tête de Femme" (Head of a Woman), was hanging just inside the Weinstein Gallery on Geary Street in San Francisco. A well-dressed man wearing dark glasses entered the gallery, grabbed the 10 5/8-by-8 1/4-inch drawing and fled the gallery into a waiting taxicab, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Police are asking for the public's help in recovering the art.

"We're hoping someone in the public might recognize this piece, if they see someone walking around with it or trying to sell it," police spokesman Albie Esparza told the Chronicle.

The piece will be hard to sell, art historian Sharon Flescher, of the International Foundation for Art Research, told the Chronicle.

"The legitimate collectors won't touch it," the paper quotes Flescher as saying.

Police described the suspect as a 30- to 35-year-old male who is about 6 feet tall, according to CNN affiliate KGO-TV. He wore "a dark jacket, white shirt, dark pants and loafers without socks," KGO reported.
Gallery President Rowland Weinstein told the Chronicle the stolen piece was part of a collection that Picasso had originally given to his driver. The gallery acquired it in May, Weinstein told the San Francisco Examiner. The gallery also has pieces by the likes of Chagall, Matisse and Dali.

"My goal is to keep this kind of work accessible to the public, and there’s always a risk to that,” Weinstein told the Examiner. He said security procedures would be reviewed so that policy does not have to be changed.

The Picasso was insured, but Weinstein told the Chronicle he is most worried about preserving the art itself.

"My greatest fear is that, with all this attention on it, the person will realize it's unsellable and will dispose of it in a less-than-proper manner," the Chronicle quotes him as saying.

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Filed under: Art • California • Crime • San Francisco
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Bob Frankwick

    Did anyone else notice his pants in the photo appear to be white or near-white? NOT "dark" as described by the television station's report.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • lej

      Slacks look white to me. That's the first thing I noticed when I read this article. I have been joked by friends that I will not be able to say what took place at the crime, but you can bet, I will tell you exactly what everyone was wearing. LOL.

      July 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. hctib

    I don't want to crate things that have never been done. That's just mean to virgins.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FauxNews

    The thief should hide on a Kindergarten wall where no one will notice it.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wildone

    I'll bet that he was working for someone who commissioned him to steal it. Most likely it will end up in someone's private collection, only to be seen by them or very close friends. What really baffles me is how this "work of art" can be worth $200 K. Everything Picasso did could be replicated by a 5 year old, and yet the public buys into this "crap" as being "art". Sorry to offend, but I think Pablo Picasso WAS an A$$ hole.

    July 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Wow, you make ignorant people sound smart....

      July 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wildone

      Wow Sara! Sorry if you think I'm ignorant for thinking that Picasso's work is crap, but it is. It's only because of idiots who think it isn't, that it sells for such outrageous prices. My dog can make a bowel movement that has more artistic value than anything that he ever produced. If you think otherwise, then you're the idiot. Not me.

      July 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MR

    Wow..$200,000 for that!. I am quitting my job and taking up pencil drawing, I can draw much much better than that.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ted Ward

    Well, I guess there's no accounting for taste...yechh!

    July 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Literacy Police

    @myles: You are under arrest.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ?

    Art under the mans arm does not seem to match the Tête de Femme.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kayla

    I hate how this is concidered art....Ugliest drawing ever. Picasso was more talented at age 16 when he did realism. This crap is ugly and effortless. I did drawings liket his when I was 4.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chang

    Pink Panther

    July 6, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Beckie

    We'll Picasso did say," Bad artists copy. Good artists steal."

    July 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MR

    Looks like in the next camera shot, he was seen putting this into the trash can. Pretty lousy Picasso piece! The man did the right thing.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul

    Why is it that whenever art is stolen, it's usually always gently plucked from the wall and walked out the front door? If priceless art was stolen, shouldn't have been a crazy heist of Hollywood proportions?

    July 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stephen

    Something about grabbing the art and running away to a cab takes all the romanticism out of art thievery.

    July 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ihorizon

    Neal Caffrey would not even steal this one....Mozzie maybe!

    July 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
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