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Jewish Journal

Valuable Rodin statue stolen from Israel Museum

JTA

March 9, 2011 | 10:36 am

A bronze statue by French sculptor Auguste Rodin was stolen from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The theft of “Naked Balzac with Folded Arms,” created in 1892, reportedly occurred during the multi-year renovation of the museum that was completed last summer.

Its disappearance was first reported Wednesday in the Israeli media, although the statue was discovered missing three months ago when workers went to return it to its spot in the museum’s Billy Rose Sculpture Garden. Rose, a Jewish American art collector, donated the statue to the museum.

Jerusalem police were immediately notified.

The statue, part of a series Rodin created while preparing a monument to the French writer Honore de Balzac, is 50 inches high by 24 inches and weighs about 140 pounds, and would have required a truck and crane to move, according to reports. 

Its exact value is not known, but recent auctions of Rodin statues have garnered $3 million to $19 million.

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