Frank Auerbach art missing after Cockermouth fraud

Portrait of GB by Frank Auerbach Image copyright Frank Auerbach/Cumbria Police
Image caption The screenprint Portrait of G.B. was valued at £12,000

Two works of art valued at a total of £41,000 have been bought from a gallery with a "fraudulent" credit card.

The pieces by painter Frank Auerbach were delivered by Castlegate House Gallery in Cockermouth to an address in Manchester, Cumbria Police said.

Portrait of G.B. is valued at £12,000 and To The Studios was on sale for £29,000. They are now missing.

The gallery confirmed "payment was made in full" and the transactions were only later discovered to be criminal.

Owner Steve Swallow said he did not know if the cards had been fake, cloned or stolen.

Cumbria Police are appealing for information about the whereabouts of the screenprint and felt pen drawing and about the man who "bought" them.

Image copyright Castlegate House Gallery
Image caption The gallery only discovered the payment was fraudulent after the works had been delivered

The gallery is offering a £1,000 reward for the return of each piece.

Auerbach, a contemporary artist, came to Britain from Germany as a child in 1939.

Some of his pieces have sold for more than £1m, with most fetching tens of thousands of pounds at auction.

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