Stolen $250,000 work returns to owner after heist
This has been a monumental year for art thefts with a crime-wave of stolen Picasso’s, Legers and Rembrandts highlighting the problem facing museums and galleries internationally. US police announced today that they have recovered a 17th century Rembrandt sketch, measuring 11 in by 6 in (28 cm by 15 c) dating from about 1655 which was stolen from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Re at the weekend. The pen and ink valued at $250,000 (£153,625), titled The Judgement, was taken from an art fair. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it was a “well thought-out, well-executed theft”. The drawing belonged to San Francisco gallery The Linearis Institute a public repository for the visual arts specializing in works on paper by great masters of the past 500 years. Founded in 2002, Linearis Institute has the distinction of combining an intimate gallery space with extensive educational and community outreach. The theft occurred when a curator was distracted by another person, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. The pen-and-ink artwork, vanished from the wooden easel that it was resting on. There was no further security involved and at least two people were suspected to be involved with the theft, known as a distraction technique. It took place at the exclusive hotel between 10:20 and 10:35 p.m. “Detectives reviewed the hotel security video for information identifying those involved,” he said. The drawing signed on the back by the artist is unique and difficult to fence. The pen-and ink drawing was found in an unlocked public area of an Encino church Monday evening after a caller recognized it from news accounts of its weekend theft, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore. It was later verified as being the stolen piece shortly after midnight
High profile works such as Rembrandt and Picasso have no resale value in the legitimate art market. They are well documented and worthless without an unscrupulous private buyer . No further details have been released.