Two valuable, original oil paintings were stolen from a Parkhurst, Johannesburg, art gallery where they were to have been exhibited, their owner said Sunday.

The artist, Bergere, said she was busy setting up her paintings for an exhibition that opened at the weekend when she went to the kitchen for a few minutes.

“When I returned to the gallery I realised something was missing and when I checked against my list, I discovered that two paintings had disappeared.”

Bergere was “shocked and astonished.” The theft was reported to the police.

There had been a number of people in the gallery at the time of the theft, Bergere said .

The stolen paintings are called Manifestation Two, depicting butterflies emerging from a vacuum, and an abstract titled Red Crescent, featuring warm, amber colours.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts was asked to contact the gallery at 011-880-0010.