Police have arrested a 54-year-old man for allegedly stealing a pottery piece of world-renowned Vietnamese-French artist Le Ba Dang just one week after his death.
The man, identified only as T, claimed that he is a friend of the artist's who admires his works and that he took the item for keepsake.
The arrest was made on Monday, two days after the artwork disappeared from the Le Ba Dang Art Foundation in Thua Thien-Hue Province.
Dinh Thi Hoai Trai, director of the foundation, said it happened when most staff members were away for a requiem ceremony for the artist.
Police later identified T thanks to a security camera installed at the place.
The suspected art thief caught on a CCTV.
The item, titled Gom 9 (Pottery 9), is measured 19 centimeters by 28 cm with delicate carvings.
It is one of nine pottery pieces that Dang made during a visit to the Phuoc Tich Pottery Village in Thua Thien-Hue in 2009.
Dang gifted it to the provincial authorities in 2012, according to Le Thi Ngoc Vien, deputy director of the Le Ba Dang Art Foundation.
The artist passed away in Paris on March 7 at the age of 94 .
Dang was born in 1921 in Bich La Dong, a village in the central province of Quang Tri neighboring Thua Thien-Hue.
He left Vietnam for France to study fine arts in Toulouse at the age of 18.
He studied for six years until his first exhibit in 1950.
He gradually rose to fame in the 1960s.
Dang expressed himself through a variety of media, including painting, watercolor, sculpture, jewelry and graphic works.
He was ranked as one of the most famous painters in the world by Cambridge University in 1992.
He held various exhibitions and cultural activities in Thua Thien-Hue, and donated a total 305 artworks to the province.