Below is the latest Art Loss Register Bulletin for October.
The Mystery of the Forged Matisse
In December 2002, curators where shocked to discover that one of the prized possessions of the Sofia Imber Contemporary Art Museum in Caracas, Venezuela, had been replaced with an intricate forgery. The painting had been in the museum’s collection since the museum purchased the painting from Marlborough Gallery in 1981. The exact date of theft is unknown. It is possible that the fake version of the painting had been on display as early as 2000. The current whereabouts of the painting remain unknown, though there is speculation that it spent some time in a storage facility in Miami, Florida. The classic harem scene, which dates from 1925, is estimated to be worth over $4m in today’s market.
Canada’s Growing Art Theft Problem
Three paintings by Montreal artist Pierre Gauvreau were stolen from an art gallery in Toronto on 27 September 2009. The window of the gallery was smashed and the paintings removed during an early morning burglary. The paintings were part of a 30-year retrospective of the artist’s work, commemorating his first solo show in Toronto in 1979. All three paintings are abstract works dating from the early 1980s, and had a combined value of over $40,000 USD.
Canada currently ranks #13 in reported art thefts, with over 2,000 lost artworks recorded on the Art Loss Register’s database. Reports of art thefts are on the rise in Canada. Between 2000 and 2005, only 82 stolen objects were reported. Since 2006, over 300 have been registered on the ALR’s database.
Lucien Freud Drawing Lost in Transit
An early inkwash drawing by Lucian Freud dissapeared while in transit between Scotland and England. The loss was discovered on 29 July 2009. The whimsical drawing, which dates from 1945, depicts a bird with outstretched wings, and bears the inscription “With love to Lornibird from Lucian.” The owner is offering a £1,000 reward for its recovery.
What you can do:
For detailed images of the stolen works, or for any inquiries or tips, please call the Art Loss Register at 877-ART-LOSS or email firstname.lastname@example.org