A valuable bronze sculpture cast by renowned French artist Auguste Rodin has vanished from a Peppermint Grove mansion that is for sale and the owners believe it was a brazen, targeted robbery after one of their home opens.
A prominent Perth businessman and his wife bought the sculpture of a bronze hand, Grande Main Gauche, at London auction house Christie's two years ago for about ï¿½73,000 ($115,000).
The couple say the sculpture was valued at $150,000 by a London auctioneer in the past year.
The 32.5cm-tall piece, cast in 1966, is one of only 12 in the world and bears Rodin's signature. The sculptor is most famous for his works The Thinker and The Kiss.
The couple contacted police after noticing the sculpture was missing on Sunday.
It was displayed among other artworks in the home and nothing else was taken, prompting fears thieves targeted the piece for its value.
The businessman's wife said she believed the sculpture was taken while she was home because alarms in the house were always set when empty.
"I feel sick to my stomach, I still can't believe it. I walk past that thing 20 times a day, but I can't remember the last time I saw it," she said.
"It's such a rare piece and I'd hate to think someone has thrown it into the river or pawned it."
The couple are offering a financial reward for any information that leads to the recovery of the artwork.
Rodin's work has been targeted by thieves all over the world. In 2003, a small sculpture titled La Main de Dieu was stolen from a museum in Argentina and in 2011 his statue of French novelist Honore de Balzac disappeared from the Israel Museum.
Police are also investigating the theft of paintings from WA artist Leon Pericles' Mosman Park gallery last week.
Pericles' assistant Moira McDermont said three paintings valued in total at $4500 and a stereo were taken from the gallery in the middle of the night."They obviously liked Leon's work and were very careful about what they chose. Police couldn't find any fingerprints," she said. "People don't have a lot of disposable money to buy artwork at the moment, so if they are hoping to on-sell them, they're not going to have a lot of luck."
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