It turns out San Antonio is where an art thief and an curious young woman with a good eye crossed paths. Years later the painting she bought from her boss turns out to be a stolen work. But the owner wants to know why “Frenchie,” the accused thief, remains at large, according to the San Antonio Express-News:
In this case, the recovery is entering its fourth year. A chief point of contention is why no one has charged the suspect, Emile Guelton. That detail is so sensitive and important to the case that ICE officials wouldn’t even say whether Guelton is in custody. French officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Court records, however, show that Guelton has not been arrested and remains free in Europe. He was interviewed by French police on Oct. 9. He said he lived in McAllen in 1984 and sold batches of paintings to San Antonio antiques store owner Jay Adelman for $50,000 to $60,000, according to court documents.
Davis lived in San Antonio for several years and attended Trinity University, but she moved to New York in 1997. She declined comment when contacted by phone, citing the litigation. But in court documents, she said she bought the painting from Adelman for $8,500 and that she believed the painting is not the original, but a “monotype” copy. She also argues that the painting might not be the one stolen from the museum.
She said she consulted with a Boston museum curator who is an expert on Pissarro, as well as others, to establish the painting’s provenance — the history of its ownership. No one mentioned it was stolen, so she bought it and took it with her to New York after divorcing her husband in San Antonio in the 1990s, court papers said. […]
Contacted by phone, Adelman confirmed he bought the painting from a man who went by the nickname “Frenchie.” Court records say “Frenchie” is Guelton, whom French authorities claim is a known art thief and the person who took the Pissarro and Renoir. Newspaper reports said the Renoir, a painting called “Buste de Femme,” apparently was traced to a collector in Japan, but it was unclear whether France has recovered it.
“It had initials on it. It didn’t mean anything to me,” Adelman said of the painting he sold Davis. “It turned out to be a Pissarro painting, but I don’t know anything about it.”
French Painting Sparks International Brouhaha (My San Antonio.com)