Showing posts with label picasso theft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label picasso theft. Show all posts

February 1, 2016

Monday, February 01, 2016 - , 1 comment

Before and After Comparison and Overlay of Stolen "Picasso" Recovered in Istanbul

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) - “Woman Dressing Her Hair” - 
Royan France, June 1940, Oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 38 1/4 (130.1 x 97.1 cm)

While it is likely too early to see a large quantity of illicit conflict antiquities transiting through Turkey on their way to backroom collectors, that doesn't mean that the stage hasn't been set for flogging other purportedly stolen artworks.  On Saturday, January 30, 2016 Turkish authorities announced the recovery of what appears to be a badly damaged Pablo Picasso oil painting, "Woman Dressing Her Hair" that was once exhibited in a travelling exhibition from August to November 2012 at London's Tate Britain and the National Galleries of Scotland and on displat for a time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 
On Display in London

While several news reports have stated that the painting was stolen from a residence of an unnamed female New York collector, the painting's provenance, listed by the MOMA website states:

Original Owner: Pablo Picasso, from 1940 until the summer of 1957; 
Samuel M. Kootz Gallery, Inc., New York;
Mrs. Bertram Smith / Louise Reinhardt Smith, New York, 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Louise Reinhardt Smith bequest, 1995.

Louise Reinhardt Smith, was one of New York’s most discerning and passionate collectors of modern art as well as a prized supporter of the Museum of Modern Art.  She died quietly at 91 on Thursday, July 13, 1995 at her home in Manhattan and it can be assumed that it was in or near 1995 that the painting's ownership shifted to the MOMA though this is not clearly specified in MOMA's collection history.    The MOMA's website merely states that the work is not on view.  

Posing as buyers, Turkish authorities have indicated that they recovered the painting after a month-long investigation involving back and forth negotiations over the price with the prospective sellers. During that time, officers posing as collectors met with the suspects first at a hotel, then at a yacht marina in the Bakırköy district and ultimately at a cafe in Fatih, on the European side of Istanbul, where the purchase of the painting for $7 million dollars was supposed to be arranged.  There officers took two males, identified as A.O. and M.E.O, into custody and the damaged canvas was recovered.
Original and Recovered Painting
Comparison Overlay

Based on Dora Maar, a young and comely photographer who photographed Picasso in her late twenties, "Woman Dressing Her Hair" was completed in Royan, France during the summer of 1940. Some believe the painting was the artist's representation of a person trapped in anguish, made insane by being exposed to the terrors of war.   In the painting, Picasso painted Maar in an enclosed and compressed space with green walls and a purple floor as well as with hoof-like hands. 

As seen by the above before the theft and after the theft images as well as this simple comparison overlay, the recovered painting's brushstroke dimensions, appear to generally match the original artwork, at least with respect to the artwork's proportions. Pigment matches, useful in authentication, have not yet been made, nor have authorities mentioned the similarity of this painting to the one in the MOMA collection.

The recovered canvas reportedly carries the collector’s name and seals showing its collection history on the reverse side and as a result has been sent to Istanbul’s Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University to be examined further. 

By Lynda Albertson



February 28, 2011

Art Theft Anniversary: Three Picassos Stolen from Grandaughter in Paris

by Catherine Schofield Sezgin, Editor

Four years ago on February 27, 2007, Pablo Picasso's granddaughter reported the early morning theft of two Picasso paintings worth 50 million euros from her Paris apartment. At about 4 a.m., two paintings had been removed from the Left Bank apartment of art historian Diana Widmaier-Picasso on rue du Grenelle in the 7th Arrondisement. "Maya and the Doll" (Maya a la poupee), is a 1938 portrait of her mother, Maya Widmaier, the daughter of Picasso and Marie-Therese Walter, the artist's companion from 1924-1944. "Portrait of Jacqueline" was painted by PIcasso in 1961 the year he married his second wife, Jacqueline Roque. The theft also included a lead pencil drawing and collage on paper, "Marie Therese at 21 years".

Widmaier and her mother were awoken by a noise, went downstairs, and having noticed nothing, returned to bed. They noticed the missing paintings later that morning. Thieves had neutralized the alarm and had either used the code or the keys to enter the second floor apartment. One painting had been sliced from its frame and another had been removed from the wall although newspaper reports differ as to what happened to each painting.

Pablo Picasso, who died at 91 years of age of a heart attack in 1973, is one of the world's most popular artists. His 1905 "Garcon a la pipe" sold for $104.2 million at Sotheby's in 2004. After Picasso's death, his heirs divided up his paintings.

The Organized Crime Unit of Paris police investigated the theft. In 1976, one of France's largest art thefts, involved the robbery of 118 paintings, drawings, and other Picasso works from a museum in Avignon. Picasso works were stolen from Zurich in 1994; from London in 1997; Rio de Janeiro; and the Pompidou Centre museum in Paris. In 1989, 12 Picasso paintings were taken from the Cannes home of Marino Picasso, another of the artist's granddaughters, and later recovered.

In August, within six months of the theft, Paris police had recovered the two paintings and arrested three people for the robbery which they had had under surveillance for more than a month when a suspect took the rolled-up paintings to a potential buyer.

Photos: "Portrait of Jacqueline" and "Maya and the Doll"

February 15, 2011

The Journal of Art Crime: Essayist Catherine Schofield Sezgin Speculates on Paris Theft, May 2010

In an essay entitled “The Paris Art Theft, May 2010,” Catherine Schofield Sezgin relates the events of the theft of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in the 16th arrondissement in Paris and speculates about how the thief may have stolen five paintings.

Christophe Girard, deputy culture secretary in Paris, estimated the value of the stolen paintings at 100 Euros ($123 million). The five missing paintings are reported as: “Le pigeon aux petits-pois” (The Pidgeon with the Peas), an ochre and brown Cubist oil painting by Pablo Picasso worth an estimated 23 million euros; “La Pastorale” (Pastoral), an oil painting of nudes on a hillside by Henri Matisse about 15 million euros; “L’olivier prés de l’Estaque” (Olive Tree Near Estaque)by Georges Braque; “La femme a l’eventail” (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani; and “Nature-more aux chandeliers” (Still Life with Candlesticks) by Fernand Leger.

According to Paris’ mayor, Betrand Delanoe, the museum’s security system, including some of the surveillance cameras, has not worked since March 30 and has not been fixed since the security company is waiting for parts from a supplier.
"In 2009, early January, I was ending a two-week holiday in Paris. We had been staying next door to the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris but had not been inside it. On Saturday evening, the night before leaving, I left my children in the apartment and walked next door to check out the permanent collection which was free. The museum would be closing in a few minutes. I headed downstairs and started looking at paintings, somewhat sure that after days and days in Paris at the Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre and the Musée National d'Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou that there wasn't much more for me to see in such short time. And then I saw this painting of trees that amazed me, and discovered that it was by Braque, titled, in English, Olive Tree Near Estaque. I just loved it and am happy to share these photos now." -- Catherine Schofield Sezgin.
To seek out this piece, and many others, consider a subscription to the Journal of Art Crime—the first peer-reviewed academic journal covering art and heritage crime. ARCA publishes two volumes annually in the Spring and Fall. Individual, Institutional, electronic and printed versions are all available, with subscriptions as low as 30 Euros. All proceeds go to ARCA's nonprofit research and education initiatives. Please see the publications page for more information.

December 2, 2010

Thieves in Madrid Steal 28 Artworks, including Picassos


See the link above for a new article by ARCA president Noah Charney, on last week's theft of 28 artworks from a truck parked in a warehouse outside of Madrid. Works by Picasso, Chillida, Tapies, and Botero (pictured above) were stolen en route back from loan in Germany to six different galleries in Madrid and Barcelona.

May 21, 2010

Time Magazine on the Paris Heist

ARCA commentary was featured in a variety of publications and news programs on the recent Paris art theft. These include the following:

ARCA Trustee Dick Ellis was interviewed for the BBC:

ARCA President Noah Charney was interviewed for TIME Magazine: