New York police were hunting Friday for a man who strolled into a Manhattan gallery pretending to be a customer and robbed a painting entitled "Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio" by Salvador Dali.

The thief took the painting off the wall, put it in a bag and left the gallery without anyone noticing that a robbery was being committed, The New York Times reported Friday.

The painting was taken from the Venus Over Manhattan gallery, according to the daily, adding that the work by Dali (1904-1989) was valued at approximately $150,000 (119,300 euros).

The same source said that video images from a surveillance camera in the gallery, founded by writer and art collector Adam Lindemann, shows a man who appears to be between 35 and 45 years old with a notably receding hairline, wearing a checked shirt and carrying his haul in a large paper bag.

The stolen painting is a work in ink and watercolor that the Spanish artist created in 1949.

According to the online edition of the New York Post, Lindemann, who among his other enterprises founded a chain of 20 Spanish-language radio stations, said his company was cooperating with the police but offered no further comments.

The same daily said that the gallery's security guard told police that while he was keeping an eye on the the thief, the man asked him if he could take a picture of the painting, to which the guard replied that he could but it had to be without a flash. EFE