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Man, woman try to steal $45K Basquiat painting from Manhattan gallery, police say

Police said the duo managed to take the painting down from its display at Taglialatella Galleries before they were stopped and fled empty-handed May 14.
World-renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
New York police are searching for a man and a woman accused of trying to steal a $45,000 painting by the world-renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat from a Manhattan gallery.Lee Jaffe

New York police are on the hunt for a man and a woman accused of trying to snatch a $45,000 painting by the famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat from a Manhattan gallery this month.

Police said the duo managed to take the painting, which was on display at Taglialatella Galleries, off the wall at around 5:30 p.m. May 14.

They almost managed to walk away with it, but they were stopped. A police spokesperson said it was unclear who stopped them. They fled and were last seen walking north on 10th Avenue.

Police valued the painting at $45,000.

The spokesperson said police are looking for a woman in her 20s or 30s with blond hair. They said she was wearing a navy coat and a brown backpack.

The man was described as being in his 20s to his 30s. He was wearing a maroon and gray sweatshirt with black pants and red sneakers, the spokesperson said.

Basquiat’s art was first publicized in a 1980 group exhibition called “Times Square Show.” In 1981, he created “Red Kings,” one of his many influential pieces. It featured a crown that became a signature in his paintings.

Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat was celebrated for his authentic painting style, as well as for his collaborative work with Andy Warhol, Taglialatella Galleries says on its website.

Taglialatella Galleries did not immediately respond to a request for comment.