MIAMI, Dec. 8 (UPI) — An $85,000 silver plate made by Pablo Picasso was stolen last week at an art festival associated with Art Basel in Miami.David Smith, the owner of Amsterdam’s Leslie Smith Gallery, said he discovered the piece missing Friday morning when he arrived at the gallery’s booth at the Art Miami art fair, a satellite site of Art Basel.
“I’ve been doing art shows all my life. Even when I was a kid, I went with my parents,” he told the Miami Herald. “I’ve never, ever had anything stolen.”
The 16.5-inch-wide engraved plate featuring a smiling face and stick-finger hands was taken sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning. The plate, Face with Hands, was created in 1956 as part of a series of 20 plates.
In a statement provided to Artnet News, Art Miami director Nick Korniloff said the art fair is offering $5,000 for the return of the artwork.
“We have issued a $5,000 reward for the return of the work with no questions asked — based on our own internal conclusion that whomever took the piece knows nothing about art and took it based on the fact that they thought it to be solid silver,” he said. “It makes absolutely no sense that this work would be targeted by anyone with knowledge of art. We hope that the piece is returned to the owner to preserve the existence of the work for future generations.”
Smith said nothing else from the booth was stolen, including a ceramic plate by Picasso directly below the stolen one worth $365,000.