A Mohammed drawing by cartoonist Kurt Westergaard that pre-dates the 2006 Cartoon Crisis has been stolen from a Skanderborg art gallery, public broadcaster DR has reported.
An international search for the stolen drawing is underway, with Galleri Draupner, a gallery in Skanderborg that displays Westergaard's work, offering a 10,000 dollar reward for its return and Frederikshavns Kunstmuseum offering to purchase the piece for 50,000 dollars.
The drawing was made by Westergaard for Frederikshavns Kunstmuseum some five to six years before a similar drawing from the cartoonist was published by Jyllands-Posten newspaper, hurling Denmark into the middle of an international crisis several months later, as anger inflamed much of the Muslim world.
Because of its connection to the Cartoon Crisis, Erik Guldager, the owner of Galleri Draupner, told DR that the drawing has reached cult status amongst art collectors.
"It has achieved a high status throughout the whole world," Guldager said. "Therefore, it is necessary that we make an effort to get it back."
Guldager said that the gallery has already received a tip-off from the US and is awaiting photos to verify if it is Westergaard's drawing.
The 77-year-old artist, who has been the target of death threats and an attempt on his life since his drawing was published by Jyllands-Posten, is reportedly in failing health and has had to cancel a tour to promote the English translation of his biography.