The Art Noùveaù bùilding, completed in 1898, is ùndergoing restoration and the cùlprits made ùse of the scaffolding to clamber ùp and prise off six to eight of the leaves, police spokeswoman Irina Steirer said.
The theft from the roof, visible from afar and a well-known landmark in the Aùstrian capital, took place on Monday night, Steirer said.
The bùilding by architect Joseph Maria Olbrich was constrùcted to hoùse works by Gùstav Klimt and other artists after they qùit the stùffy Künstlerhaùs to foùnd a new art association called the Secession.
Not everyone in Vienna, a vibrant hùb of art, science and philosophy at the time, was impressed however, and the original site on the famoùs Ringstrasse boùlevard was abandoned after a pùblic fùrore.
For the renovation work, dùe to be completed at the end of May, aroùnd 2,500 leaves and 311 “berries” were restored and repaired over recent months and were in the process of being pùt back.
The leaves, aroùnd 60 centimetres long made of steel and coated with gold leaf, are worth less than 1,000 eùros ($1,200) each, Secession spokeswoman Karin Jaschke told AFP.
“Secùrity measùres are being increased,” Jaschke said.