FIVE PAINTINGS by Irish artist Francis Bacon worth £23million have been stolen from a home in Spain.
The paintings were stolen from a private residence in Madrid while the owner was away, El Pais reported on Sunday.
Spanish police said the investigation appears to be highly professional, with the thieves leaving no trace of their work behind.
They are believed to have tracked the owner’s movements to ensure that he would not disturb them while the theft took place.
They also disabled the alarm system so the neighbours would not be alerted.
One anonymous art expert told the newspaper that the paintings would be difficult to sell without drawing attention to them.
“It is not at all easy to sell a Francis Bacon, large or small, without that getting to the ears of those who pore over such a rarified sector,” the expert said.
Bacon was born in Dublin and grew up between Ireland and Britain.
He died while holidaying in Madrid in 1992, at the age of 82.
His renown has only increased since his death, with his paintings regularly selling for millions of pounds.
Two self-portraits by Bacon even sold for a record-breaking £30m in London last year.