Winning artwork stolen from wall at Exeter exhibition
The winning piece of artwork in a Devon art exhibition has been stolen.
Henny Acloque's Ovation was stolen from the wall of the gallery while it was open to the public on Saturday for the Exeter Contemporary Open.
Devon and Cornwall Police have been informed of the theft at the Exeter Phoenix in which the 10cm x 15cm painting went missing.
Gallery Curator Matt Burrows said the incident was "incredibly unusual" and that CCTV footage was being looked at.
Mr Burrows said: "Although it has financial value it's not like something that could be stolen to sell, so it becomes a strange combination of someone who really likes it, who was prepared to do something so selfish.
"Unfortunately if someone is determined there's very little beyond a certain point that we can do.
"This painting is very small and would not be easily noticeable so it may have been targeted."
Artist Ms Acloque had been announced as the winner of the competition and won £1,000 in prize money.
Mr Burrows said: "She's devastated because it's one of a series of paintings and they work together and this was one of her favourite pieces.
He said he was hopeful that the incident was an "impulsive act" and that the painting would be returned to the art gallery or artist soon.