Dealer Finds $100 Million Stolen DeKooning. Gives it back.

“Woman-Ochre,” a painting by abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning, has been returned to the University of Arizona Museum of Art. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

Let’s imagine for a second that you are an antiques dealer. You get calls all the time about liquidating estates and you were just on one of those calls. You see some average stuff but you also see a wrinkled old canvas behind a closet door that you think looks pretty cool. It has some nice colors and an interesting abstract composition. It kind of looks like the owner of the estate must have been a painter and, he wasn’t half bad. So you say “What the heck,” and put $2000 into the investment and maybe you’ll make a little profit from some of the baubles and trinkets you just bought but you’ll get a cool painting in the deal— and isn’t that what it’s all about? So you go to your shop, unload your truck, put the wrinkled canvas into a corner and hope some people come in to check out your stuff. A few people do come in and when you show them the canvas, more than one casually mentions that the painting looks an awful lot like a Willem de Kooning.

The idea of it seems cool enough but, really guys, c’mon. You continue about your day, dusting off your books and leather bound chairs when something really strange happens. One of your customers comes back a few hours later and, with a serious look on his face, offers you $200,000 for the wrinkled canvas. He can get the cash by the end of the day. Now you’re wondering. So you go online, find an article about a Willem de Kooning that way, way back in 1985 was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art and holy Ravioli!, it looks exactly like the one you just bought. And not just that! Its estimated value is, oh, about $100,000,000. Yeah, thats right. EIGHT zeros!

A tingle goes down your spine.

You can hear the distant sound of cars on the street outside. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and there you are, all alone, with a painting you just discovered is absolutely worth $100 million and is also absolutely stolen. Maybe you start to wonder how many people know you have it? Who did you tell? Where can you go to disappear so no one will ever trace the sale of a stolen painting back to you?” And then you stop yourself and vigorously shake your head. You have a stolen Willem de Kooning painting worth $100,000,000 and you know that the only right thing to do is give it back.

In 1985, a man and a woman, on a cool winter day in Arizona, strolled into the University of Arizona Museum of Art and, while the attractive middle-aged lady chatted up the security guard, her younger male partner went to the Museum’s second floor, sliced a Willem de Kooning painting out of it’s frame, rejoined his partner and they departed. The painting was missing for 31 years.

Just two weeks ago,“Woman-Ochre,” by Willem de Kooning was returned to the University of Arizona Museum of Art by an antiques dealer from New Mexico who happened upon it at an estate sale.

If you enjoy abstract paintings like our honest antiques dealer, then check out our gallery.

For a more factual account of this story, go here.

‘We found it rolled up in a tube’: Alice Cooper discovers Warhol classic after 40 years


Rock star Alice Cooper has found an Andy Warhol masterpiece that could be worth millions “rolled up in a tube” in a storage locker, where it lay forgotten for more than 40 years.

The work in question is a red Little Electric Chair silkscreen, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series. Never stretched on a frame, it sat in storage alongside touring artifacts including an electric chair that Cooper used in the early 70’s as part of his ghoulish stage show.

According to Shep Gordon, the singer’s longtime manager, Cooper and Warhol became friends at the famous Max’s Kansas City venue in New York City.

“It was back in 72 and Alice had moved to New York with his girlfriend Cindy Lang,” Gordon stated, “Andy was kind of a groupie, and so was Alice. They loved famous people. So they started a relationship, and they loved to hang out.”

Warhol went to see a concert in which Cooper feigned electrocution in a chair identical to the one in Warhol’s print. The image is based on a press photograph from 13 January 1953 of the death chamber at Sing Sing prison. 

Lang, a model and Interview magazine cover star who died in January at the age of 67, had the idea to approach the artist’s studio and purchase one of the 1964 canvases.

“Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was.”

The artwork entered Cooper’s touring equipment collection, and disappeared. Then, four years ago, Gordon was having dinner with a Los Angeles art dealer. She mentioned how much a Warhol had recently fetched at auction. Gordon mentioned that Cooper had had a Little Electric Chair. Bloom advised him to find it.

“Alice’s mother remembered it going into storage,” he said. “So we went and found it rolled up in a tube.”

the top price paid for a Little Electric Chair is $11.6m, at Christie’s in November 2015 for a green version dated 1964, and he didn’t want anything of such value in the house. So it went back into storage.

Without authentication – it is unsigned – Cooper’s Warhol is unlikely to make quite so much should it ever come to auction. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts stopped authenticating work in 2011, after a protracted legal dispute over a self-portrait owned by a British collector, that the authentication panel refused to endorse, rendering it valueless.

Gordon took Cooper’s small canvas, which measures 22 x 28in, to a Warhol expert. He believes the provenance of the silkscreen checks out and has dated it to 1964 or 1965.  “It looks right, and the story just makes too much sense. It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?”

Gordon said the singer had changed his mind and was now considering hanging his Little Electric Chair in his home, when he comes off tour at the end of the year.


To view more Andy Warhol and other in our Fine Art Collections please visit GallArt.comashley-bot


Artist: Andy Warhol

Title: Conspiracy Means To Breathe Together

Medium: Offset Lithograph

Size: 34″ x 22″

Year: 1969

Description: Warhol created his first screenprint of an electric chair in 1963. Later in the sixties he returned to the imagery for a series of ‘Little Electric Chairs’, to which this image belongs. The source photograph was published in 1953 and shows the chair in New York State’s Sing Sing prison. Used for the final time in 1963, Warhol remarked that it seemed like a typically American way to go. The title of this group exhibition for charity at LoGuidice Gallery works especially well with Warhol’s image. Conspiracy derives from the Latin word ‘conspirare’, which literally means to breathe together. The exhibition organisers refer to the fact that this chair was used to execute American communists Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953. Artwork is in excellent condition. Certificate of Authenticity included.



Article Source: Edward Helmore

$1 Million Rockwell Stolen and Found 40 Years Later

John Grant, seen here standing in front of his father’s beloved Rockwell.

In 1976, the Grant family of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, returned home from a fun, family outing at the shore to discover that their treasured Norman Rockwell painting, that had proudly hung in their foyer, had been stolen. The painting, which Mr. Grant had owned for twenty years, was titled “Boy Asleep With Hoe,” and was painted by Rockwell when he was 25, as a cover for The Saturday Evening Post in 1919. The market for Norman Rockwell paintings was a little soft at the time but it made no difference to Mr. Grant–he loved that painting.

Decades passed, and woefully, the aging Mr. Grant died in 2006, never to see his beloved painting again. But a few years after his death, his son John was introduced to a retired F.B.I. agent who had spent years investigating art crimes. Over a couple of hamburgers they talked about the theft. Shortly after that conversation, the FBI released a 40th anniversary press announcement of the painting’s theft in the hope of generating fresh attention.

It did.

This year, an antiques dealer, who heard conversation about the painting on the radio, contacted the FBI. “I think I have your painting,” he said.

It turns out, just shortly after the theft, this antiques dealer became the new owner of the painting, paying a few hundred dollars for what he thought was a Rockwell copy. He had it hanging in his kitchen all these years because his wife loved Rockwell. He promptly handed the painting over to the FBI, who in turn safely returned it to the Grant family, 40 years after the theft.

If you and your family would like to own a Norman Rockwell, check out our gallery. Just make sure to install it with GPS to surprise any unsuspecting antiques dealers!



Urban Art – Do We Know What It Is?

Urban art could be one of the most significant movements in recent art history. First, we must take a look at the concept of urban art and tackle the question that has been circling in the art community for a long time. What is urban art exactly? Although it is regularly used, urban art is one of those concepts that is particularly hard to define. Most commonly urban art is seen as art that originates from urban environments. Urban Art is used to describe the works that are not made on the streets, but in studios by those artists who come from street art and graffiti background.

Recognition of Urban Art Movement:

Graffiti and street art emerged as rebellious practices connected to subculture lifestyles, hostile toward art institutions, with anti-capitalist, social and political undertones. However, in the last fifteen years, things changed immensely due to the obsessive documentation of street artworks and online photo sharing. Fueled by the Internet, urban art gained visibility on a global scale and it allowed artists to track each other’s work, establish connections and collaborations, form a scene and a base of followers. The growing visibility was followed by the crossover into gallery system and consequently high-end art market where it became one of the leading forces.

Qualities That Make Urban Art Popular and Significant:

Urban art, purposely ignorant of academic discourse and theory, immersed into everyday reality which contemporary artists ignored, naturally became movement attractive to many. Urban art was new, exciting, subversive, bold and highly democratic because of its rootedness in public, communal spaces. The social, political aspects and critical connotations were also widely praised among those who got annoyed by the fact that contemporary art has lost its sense of the social surroundings.

Endless Possibilities of Urban Art Expressions:

Because it is not limited to any particular aesthetic canon and does not follow any artistic manifesto, urban art allows a great amount of freedom to its practitioners. It is a free-spirited art movement that is equally attractive to self-taught artists and those with academic background in arts and with the engagement and collaborations of artists working in different disciplines it is constantly growing and evolving. Possibly one of the greatest qualities of urban art is that it embodies inventive and improvisational practices. With the limitless power to generate meanings and communicate on several levels with non-art audiences and art connoisseurs alike, urban art can truly be seen as the most significant recent art movement and the cultural turning point.

Artist: Shepard Fairey                              Title: Evolve Devolve

      Medium: Silkscreen & Mixed Media on Canvas    

Size: 19″ x 25″                                       Edition: AP

Description: Signed and numbered. In artist frame. Artwork is in excellent condition. Certificate of Authenticity included.


Please visit to view more Urban Art and the rest of our Fine Art Collection. ashley-bot

Source: Anika D. 

Gallery Art Has Hot Summer Deals On Sculpture

Man Attempting to Sell Stolen Wesselmann Caught By FBI

The stolen Wesselmann “Study of Monica Nude with Tulips,” and the head of her thief.

A man in Portland is accused of stealing a famous Wesselmann portrait from his mother and trying to sell it to an unnamed NY gallery. The mother had it removed from the wall in her condo during some construction and didn’t realize it was missing until she got a call from the FBI.

“Do you own a famous Tom Wesselmann painting, ma’am?” the no-nonsense agent asked. “Yes I do,” she replied, only to find it missing from her condo!

Tom Wesselmann was a painter, collagist and sculptor who created artwork that incorporated commonplace, real-world items with historical portraiture, often focusing on reclining female nudes. He is widely known for his canvas paintings as well as his silkscreen artwork.

A gallery official, upon inquiry,  told the man that the painting—a Liquitex study of “Monica Nude with Tulips”—was worth $95,000, but they would buy it for $60,000. He took the deal. The NY gallery grew a little suspicious when the would-be seller provided the address of a hotel for them to send an art shipping box for him to pack it into and ship back. The gallery got the painting, but when it came time to send his check, the poor fellow had gotten himself arrested for shoplifting at J.C. Penney’s! His girlfriend stepped in to continue the transaction and all the red flags went up.

The man is being accused of interstate transportation of stolen goods and fraud by wire.

His Mom said that when she heard from the FBI, she was shocked. “I didn’t know the piece was gone!” she said. She agreed to pursue prosecution because she believes her son is safer now that he’s off the street and not stealing famous Wesselmann’s!

Buy one of our famous Wesselmann’s, a signed and numbered silkscreen of “Monica Nude with Tulips” Just remember to keep an eye on it!

Shepard Fairey: Latest News

Shepard Fairey is a contemporary American street artist, graphic designer, activist and illustrator who works on a variety of media including screen prints, stencils, stickers, collages, and works on wood, metal and canvas. He became widely known during the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. His work has been described as “political art with a strong sense of visual style and emotional authenticity.” The Institute of Contemporary Art has described him as one the best known and most influential street artists of his time.

Recently Shepard Fairey installed his largest public mural to date in Sydney Australia. In his iconic limited-pallet, stencil style, Fairey created an image of a young woman with flowers behind each ear holding an Australian flower, the waratah, in her hands. The public mural is the largest, so far, of Fairey’s career, standing 15 stories tall in Sydney’s central business district. “Right now, with what’s going on in a lot of places in the world, there is a lot of friction. The idea that we can be resilient and peaceful is something I would like to convey,” Fairey said about his mural.

Here’s a pretty cool time-lapse video of its installation:

If you want to learn a little more about Shepard Fairey here is a short film shot by Brett Novak who was commissioned by the Halsey Institute of Charleston, South Carolina to spot-light this influential and politically active street artist.

And if you want even more, you’ll be happy to hear that Hulu, the on-demand video streaming service, has “Obey Giant” on their fall line-up. This new film profiles Shepard Fairey’s life and work from his punk-rock and skateboarding days to his meteoric rise to fame during the 2008 presidential election and onward to his present-day artistic activism.

Premiering on Hulu, Saturday, November 11, 2017
Crew: Created and executive produced by James Moll and executive produced by James Franco.
Synopsis: A film profiling the life and work of artist Shepard Fairey, going deep into the world of street art and its role in politics and pop culture. Obey Giant follows Fairey’s rise from his roots in punk rock and skateboarding, to his role as one of the most well-known and influential street artists in the world – through his iconic Obama “HOPE” poster and the controversy that surrounds it.
Courtesy of


To see SHEPARD FAIREY artwork for sale at Gallery Art visit our gallery.


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