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Last Updated: Monday, 19 May, 2003, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Stolen paintings back on show
Poverty by Pablo Picasso
Picasso painted Poverty when he was aged 24
Three valuable paintings that were stolen from an art gallery in Manchester are back on display at the same venue.

The works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Gauguin - worth a total of 4m - were taken from the Whitworth Art Gallery on 27 April.

They were found the following day wrapped in a cardboard tube in a nearby disused public toilet.

A note from the thieves claimed the paintings were taken to highlight poor security at the gallery.

One of the paintings - Van Gogh's Fortifications of Paris with Houses, painted in 1878 - had to be restored after it suffered a six-inch tear in the corner.

It was rehung on Monday in the gallery's Margaret Pilkington Room along with Picasso's Poverty, painted in 1903, and Gauguin's Tahitian Landscape, dated 1893.

Whitworth Art Gallery
The gallery has improved security since the theft

Fresh security measures have now been put in place at the gallery, which also features works by LS Lowry, Turner, David Hockney and Damien Hirst.

Police have speculated that the thief may have been a disgruntled former member of staff as whoever took the paintings had an "intimate" knowledge of the gallery.

The director of the gallery, Alistair Smith, says he is certain the thief wanted to embarrass the institution.

He said: "I do think that they managed to carry out what they intended.

"But there are all sorts of ways of drawing attention to lapses in security - if these exist - other than stealing pictures. It's a crime.

"I think that the psychology of this theft shows somebody had a grudge against the institution or certain people in the institution."

The Oxford Road venue, which is owned by Manchester University, has a collection of 40,000 works of art and is designated as of national significance by the government.

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04 Feb 03  |  Entertainment

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