The story of the Raeburn portrait claimed by Joanne Herring in a 25-year-old theft is getting some traction. The New York Post speaks to Geoffrey Rice, the consignor, who’s hopping mad about her claims. He says he bought the painting three years before it was supposed to have been stolen:
“This is not a painting I have great sentimental value for or a lot of money invested in, but I am pissed off because I feel that someone is trying to take advantage of me,” said Rice, 68. The wild tale begins in late 1983 when Rice said he purchased “Portrait of a Man,” by 18th century Scottish artist Sir Henry Raeburn for about $1,000 at a now-defunct auction house in Houston, where he was living with his wife at the time.
When they divorced, Rice moved with the painting to New York, where it sat in his laundry room until early last year. “I decided to sell it. I contacted Sotheby’s and they told me it would likely go for between $15,000 to $20,000, so I put it up for auction,” he said. […] He also raised objections when he saw the police report described the painting as only “Portrait, Man.” “That’s a description that could fit hundreds of thousands of paintings,” Rice said.