Image for Syd Barrett Painting Pinched… Then Returned

Syd Barrett Painting Pinched… Then Returned

Written by Barnaby Smith on April 13, 2011

A self-portrait of Syd Barrett has been stolen – and subsequently returned – from an exhibition in London over the weekend.

The painting of the deceased Pink Floyd founder was pilfered from London’s Idea Generation Gallery on Saturday April 9, only to eventually be ‘mysteriously posted back to the gallery undamaged and intact’. The gallery was offering a reward of £2000 ($3110) for its safe return, according to The Wire.

And that’s about all the information there is for the time being. The Idea Generation Gallery was displaying the painting as part of the Syd Barrett Arts & Letters exhibition. Barrett painted the work around 1961 or 1962 – some years before Pink Floyd were formed – and gave the painting to his then girlfriend Libby Gausden. After the painting was stolen, Gausden was quoted as saying, “I am very upset at the theft of the painting, it has huge personal value to me and I am appealing for its safe return.”

Barrett gave up music in 1972 mainly because he found himself in a confused drug-addled haze but also because he apparently wanted to devote himself to painting whilst living with his mother, which he did right up until his death in 2006. This early work is described by art news site Artlyst as “applied in a heavy impasto in blues, rusts, white and brown tones. It is almost abstract with a stylized rendered portrait of the young Barrett staring face on at the viewer. It is typical of the art college style, at Camberwell in the early 1960s.”

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