A small but valuable painting stolen from an Irish art gallery more than 20 years ago is back hanging on its walls after being recovered by detectives.
In The Omnibus by the French artist Honore Daumier has been returned to the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin after being found by proceeds of crime officers late last year.
The drawing in watercolour and gouache was stolen on a Saturday afternoon in June 1992 when the gallery was open to the public and a thief ripped it from a wall.
It was valued at the time in the hundreds of thousands but gallery chiefs have refused to be drawn on its value today.
Dr Barbara Dawson, appointed director of the Hugh Lane a year before the theft, 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 liked to have things to look at themselves or was it stolen to order?
“We haven’t been told. Maybe it was someone who was covetous and liked to have things for their own enjoyment.”
It is understood that the stolen painting was discovered when Criminal Assets Bureau detectives began investigating other proceeds of crime.
In The Omnibus was part of the original collection presented by Hugh Lane to the city of Dublin for the Gallery of Modern Art, which first opened to the public in 1908.
Based in Paris, Daumier was a satirist, caricaturist and renowned for his social commentary on life in France in the 1800s. He spent six months in jail after drawing a caricature of King Louis Philippe as Gargantua eating gold coins.
In The Omnibus shows a crowded group of workers and a young child in quiet contemplation as they travel through Paris. Daumier’s work is held in public collections worldwide including the Louvre, The Metropolitan Museum New York and The National Gallery London.