We reported yesterday that several important pieces of blue chip art valued at over 10 million dollars were stolen from a house in Santa Monica California. The case has now had a happy conclusion and the works belonging to Jeffrey Gundlach, the Chief Executive Officer of Doubleline Capital LP have now been recovered. Several major pieces including paintings by Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Richard Diebenkorn and Piet Mondrian were taken along with a Porsche, several watches and other valuables. Mr. Gundlach had offered a very handsome reward of $1.7 million for information leading to the return of the property stolen. It is not known if the reward triggered the tip off to police and the recovery of the art.
Amongst the pieces stolen was a work created by Piet Mondrian. This was the centrepiece of Mr. Gundlach’s collection. He told an American newspaper that he fell in love with Mondrian after a visit to the Tate Gallery in London, a number of years ago. Mondrian was a Dutch painter who shaped the face of modern painting by contributing work to the ‘De Stijl’ movement which translates to “The Style”. Founded by Theo van Doesburg in 1917. The work had a large impact on the art movement known as neo-plasticism. The style created by Mondrian is largely non-representational and consists of a white background upon which the subject is modified and reduced to create a grid of black vertical and horizontal lines, placed with the use of primary colours. Another important painting in the collection was by the American painter and printmaker Jasper Johns. Johns is best known for his works depicting the American flag, in Pop Art brilliance. Other works taken were created by the sculptor Joseph Cornell who is often classified as a neo-Dadaist. His work includes the use of contradiction, paradox, inspired by surrealism, which he contrasts with the strict rigidness of constructivism and Cy Twombly an American abstract painter, who died last year.
Police in Santa Monica have arrested two suspects connected to the crime, and Gundlach said that at least one of the pieces was stopped from being sold. The break came on Wednesday when Pasadena police officers received a call that the stolen art was being held at a car stereo shop. The Officers raided the Al & Ed’s Autosound store on South Rosemead Boulevard, recovered all but one of the stolen paintings and arrested the store’s manager Jay Jeffrey Nieto, 45 on suspicion of possessing stolen goods . A second suspect, Wilmer Cadiz, 40, was arrested nearby at his home on suspicion of possessing stolen property and grand larceny . The other painting was recovered at a residence in nearby Glendale. The person holding the work of art has not been arested but is assisting the police with their enquiries.
Gundlach, the founder of DoubleLine Capital, said the recovery marked a “great day for the art world and all those who seek order and justice in our society. My gratitude goes out to Detective David Haro and the entire Santa Monica Police Department for their skillful, tireless and respectful attention to apprehending the criminals and recovering all of the artwork stolen,” he said in a statement. “I would also like to thank the many well wishers who offered support and whose optimism over the last two weeks proved accurate.” He added; “If the people that turn in the tip were part of the burglary they will not receive a single penny,” according to Gundlach. “However, if they were righteous people, they will receive every penny.”