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Three men steal Renoir painting from Vienna auction house

By Danielle Haynes

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Police in Vienna, Austria, said they're searching for three men accused of walking into an auction house and stealing a painting by French master Pierre-Auguste Renoir valued at more than $131,000.

The theft from the Dorotheum auction house happened Monday evening. The painting, titled Golfe, mer, falaises vertes, was set to be sold Wednesday.

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The three men took the painting out of its frame without cutting the canvas, Vienna police said.

"The men left the site through different exits and fled," a police spokesman said.

Security cameras at the auction house captured the three suspects, who apparently made little effort to hide their faces.

Dealers expected the lesser-known painting to sell for between $131,000 and $181,000, a far cry from the millions some of the artist's paintings go for. A Japanese millionaire set the record price for a Renoir painting in 1990 with the purchase of Au Moulin De La Galette for $78.1 million.

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