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Hunt for 'strikingly attractive' woman who 'stole six-figure artwork'

Photos of a "striking" woman accused of stealing a six-figure oil painting from a museum have been released by German police has they continue to hunt down the alleged thief.

The brazen heist was allegedly carried out by the still-unidentified woman at Bielefeld's Museum Huelsmann during an exhibition on April 27.

The woman, described in reports as heavily made up and "strikingly attractive", is believed to have simply walked out carrying the 1561 artwork — Portrait Of A Young Lady by Dutch painter Pieter Aertsen.

The oil-on-wood painting measures 35.8 by 46.7 centimetres.

CCTV of the 'strikingly attractive' woman who allegedly stole the six-figure artwork.
The woman accused of stealing the artwork was captured on CCTV footage. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

Aertsen's work regularly sells for six figures and have reached more than USD $1 million (A$1.4 million) at auction.

As seen in these newly-released CCTV images, the woman was seen at the museum wearing a light red jacket, figure-hugging black trousers, high heels and what is thought to be a wig.

Witnesses whom she asked for directions told police she spoke standard German with a pronounced lisp.

She was last filmed on security footage leaving the building at around 4.55pm. The theft was noticed at around 5pm.

It was initially reported that the woman carried the painting away in a dark A3 folder, but investigators have now said this was not the case.

The stolen artwork named the
The "Portrait of a Young Woman" by the Dutch painter Pieter Aertsen was taken from the museum in April. Source: Newsflash/Australscope

"Whether she carried it under her briefcase or in a large handbag is not yet entirely clear and is the subject of the investigation," a police spokeswoman told local media.

Cops initially estimated the woman to be between 22 and 28 years old but have now stated: "She may have optically lowered her actual age through the use of make-up."

Aertsen, dubbed Lange Piet (Tall Pete), worked for a long period in Antwerp, which was the centre of artistic life in the Netherlands at the time.

He is credited with the invention of the monumental genre scene, which combines still life and genre painting and often also includes a biblical scene in the background.

Bielefeld Police have called on members of the public to come forward with any relevant information.


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