Crime: Recovered de Kooning painting back in the spotlight - PressFrom - US
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CrimeRecovered de Kooning painting back in the spotlight

01:00  16 march  2019
01:00  16 march  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The recovered de Kooning , now safely back at the university, holds a few clues to its travels. UA museum officials believe the painting was reframed only once after being stolen, a possible sign the work of art A similar painting by de Kooning in the same series sold for 7.5 million in 2006.

29, 1985, a Willem de Kooning painting , "Woman-Ochre," was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art. They headed back to Silver City and dropped off the painting at their store that same night. In 2006, "Woman III," another de Kooning painting in the series, sold for 7.5 million.

Recovered de Kooning painting back in the spotlight© The Associated Press This August 2017 photo shows "Woman-Ochre," a painting by Willem de Kooning, being readied for examination by University of Arizona Museum of Art staff Nathan Saxton, left, and Kristen Schmidt in Tucson, Ariz. More than 30 years after it was stolen from the museum, the recovered painting will be on display back where it all began. (Robert Demers/University of Arizona Communications via AP)

PHOENIX — More than 30 years after it was brazenly stolen from an Arizona museum, a painting by Willem de Kooning reportedly worth $100 million is going on display back where it all began.

The University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson is throwing a fundraiser and homecoming party of sorts for "Woman-Ochre" on Sunday before it gets whisked away for months of restoration work. For some who worked at the museum when the painting was stolen in 1985, the celebration still seems surreal.

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Willem de Kooning (/də ˈkuːnɪŋ/; Dutch: [ˈʋɪləm də ˈkoːnɪŋ]; April 24, 1904 – March 19, 1997) was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist.

De Kooning made the painting in the 1950s. A similar painting sold in 2006 for 7.5 million. Experts say the recovered “Woman-Ochre” may be worth 0 million. Meg Hagyard is the acting director of the museum. She thanked Van Auker for returning the painting . She called its recovery a

Lee Karpiscak, who was the curator of collections at the time, recalls the entire staff feeling devastated. "We tried to be realistic about it," she said. "All these scenarios go through your head and make you crazy. We certainly hoped it would be returned."

It was the morning after Thanksgiving when authorities said a man and a woman showed up at the museum. A security guard and students working the front desk were the only ones there, according to Karpiscak. Police said the woman distracted the guard with small-talk while the man cut the painting right out of the frame, leaving edges of the canvas still attached. The entire heist lasted around 15 minutes.

"How do you eat your Thanksgiving dinner knowing you're going to steal a painting the next day?" Karpiscak said.

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How the de Kooning was recovered . Rita Alter died in June 2017 at age 81. Roseman, the estate's executor, arranged to clear out and sell the house. He and the shop's co-owners, Buck Burns and Rick Johnson, brought the painting to the store in the back of a truck along with lamps and African art.

Priceless de Kooning painting is recovered 31 years after being ripped from University of Arizona gallery. During 1985 heist, a woman distracted a UA A similar painting by de Kooning in the same series sold for 7.5 million a decade ago. UA officials brought the painting back to Tucson on Aug.

There was no security camera system set up then. The next few days were a flurry of activity as FBI agents interviewed the entire staff. But no significant leads developed. Occasionally the museum would get calls from people claiming to know where the painting was.

But Karpiscak said they were callers looking to get back at someone they didn't like. On the theft's 30th anniversary, the museum displayed the empty frame at a news conference in hopes of generating tips.

Then in 2017, a furniture and antiques dealer in Silver City, New Mexico, bought the painting at an estate sale. When researching the piece, he discovered an article about the theft. He notified the museum. A conservator with the university found it to be a perfect match.

The furniture dealer had gotten the painting from the estate of Jerry and Rita Alter. The art work had been hanging in their Cliff, New Mexico, home. Relatives also discovered a photo of the couple taken Thanksgiving Day 1985 in Tucson. Jerry Alter died in 2012 and his wife in 2017. Authorities have never publicly called them suspects.

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A stolen Willem de Kooning painting , “Woman-Ochre,” was discovered as part of an estate sale for a deceased couple's home. And just as mysteriously, how did the abstract oil painting of a nude woman end up in the home of a quiet, retired couple in Cliff, New Mexico, population 293?

He describes de Kooning 's use of art historical sources as a type of dislocation: he looks at Mondrian, at surrealism, at Picasso, at ancient art; he takes In particular, the painting of two men standing shows de Kooning engaged in an attempt to reconcile the figure to the flat space of a painting which

Jill McCabe, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Phoenix, said an investigation remains ongoing so the agency could not comment.

Because of the investigation, it was not until last November that the FBI fully released the painting back to the museum, curator Olivia Miller said.

"We had it here but we weren't allowed to move it or display it or do anything like that," Miller said.

She said museum staffers have been overwhelmed "in a good way" with the anticipation of the painting being on view again — even if just for a day. And of course, there will be plenty of safeguards around the painting.

"Our security is much different than it was 1985," Miller said. "Certainly at this event, we will definitely have extra eyes."

The oil painting, which was donated to the museum in 1958, is one in an iconic series by the Dutch-American artist that explores the figure of a woman. The piece features the abstract expressionist's signature broad paint strokes, depicting various colors across the female body.

De Kooning died in East Hampton, New York, in 1997 at the age of 92. He was part of the influential New York School of artists that also included Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

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Meet 'Good Samaritans' who got stolen de Kooning painting back to UA. A Willem de Kooning painting stolen from the University of Arizona was unveiled to media after being recovered A similar painting by de Kooning in the same series sold for 7.5 million in 2006. Tom Tingle/The Republic.

The recovered de Kooning , now safely back at the university, holds a few clues to its travels. UA museum officials believe the painting was reframed only once after being stolen, a possible sign the work of art A similar painting by de Kooning in the same series sold for 7.5 million in 2006.

After Sunday, the painting will go to the Getty Center in Los Angeles where experts in art conservation and scientific analysis can work on fully restoring it. One of the main issues is if it's possible to reattach the canvas to the fragments left behind when the perpetrator sliced the painting with a blade, Miller said.

"Because the cut is so clean, from my understanding, it makes it more difficult to reattach it," she said.

Miller said once everything is completed, the Getty plans to exhibit the painting next year. The plan is for the canvas to return to Arizona in the fall of 2020.

"I think the emotions will really hit when it comes back from the Getty and it's hanging here for a long time," Miller said.

She wishes the museum director at the time of the theft, Peter Bermingham, were still alive to witness its return. Bermingham died in 2000.

"In the initial interviews...he said he was hopeful," Miller said. "He thought we would eventually recover it and he was absolutely right."

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Follow Terry Tang on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ttangAP

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