A thief pulled off a brazen daytime art heist Monday, making off with a large and valuable painting taken right off the wall of the Ian Tan Gallery on south Granville Street.

Gallery consultant Eve Lacabanne says she and the owner were in the gallery when the door bell chimed indicating someone had just walked in.

"We weren't at the very front and there's art work hanging there near the door," she said. 

But as they were walking to greet the potential customer the thief somehow removed the painting and ran off.

The oil on canvas work by Vancouver artist Warren Chiu is called Dragon Boats at Science World and is valued at $4,000.

"It was 36 inches high by 48 inches wide, so fairly sizable getting it through the door but by the time we got to the front they were gone," said Lacabanne. "[It's] very brazen, we couldn't believe it."

The gallery has been open for over a decade and had never experienced a robbery, she said.

With files from Deborah Goble