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Van Mieris work stolen from Australian gallery

A painting by Dutch artist Frans van Mieris, titled "A Cavalier"(self 
portrait) is shown in this file photo. The painting, was stolen from the Sydne...

A painting by Dutch artist Frans van Mieris, titled "A Cavalier"(self portrait) is shown in this file photo. The painting, was stolen from the Sydne...

A million-dollar painting by 17th century Dutch artist Frans van Mieris was stolen from an Australian state gallery in a quick and expert raid during viewing hours, officials said yesterday. Police suspect an inside job.
Police said they had questioned gallery staff and had not ruled out one or more of them being involved in stealing "A Cavalier (self portrait)" from the Art Gallery of New South Wales state sometime on Sunday.
An FBI art theft expert said that the painting would likely disappear for years if police failed to catch the thieves, and that authorities had a poor record in such cases involving well-known works.
Gallery director Edmund Capon said the tiny painting - about 30 centimeters by 42 centimeters including a wooden frame - was unscrewed from a wall in a small display room that was not fitted with security cameras.
"To be honest, I could slip it under your coat ... It could have happened that way," Capon said at a news conference, estimating it would have taken the thief a few minutes to remove the wall screws.
The painting was insured for 1.4 million Australian dollars (US$1.17 million), he said.
Police were scouring recorded images from cameras in other parts of the gallery for clues to the heist, which they believe occurred between 10 a.m and 12:30 p.m.
They appealed for witnesses to come forward.
Van Mieris was a Dutch Baroque-era painter whose works are included in The Royal Collection in London and displayed in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, among others.
Rendered in oil paint on an oak panel, "A Cavalier" - a French word meaning a chivalrous gentleman - depicts a man, believed to be the artist, seated on a chair and dressed in a feathered hat and frilled sleeves.