Navigation
Suscribe
Menu Search Facebook Twitter
Search Close
Menu ALL SECTIONS
  • Capital Coahuila
  • Capital Hidalgo
  • Capital Jalisco
  • Capital Morelos
  • Capital Oaxaca
  • Capital Puebla
  • Capital Quintana Roo
  • Capital Querétaro
  • Capital Veracruz
  • Capital México
  • Capital Michoacán
  • Capital Mujer
  • Reporte Índigo
  • Estadio Deportes
  • The News
  • Efekto
  • Diario DF
  • Capital Edo. de Méx.
  • Green TV
  • Revista Cambio
Radio Capital
Pirata FM
Capital Máxima
Capital FM
Digital
Prensa
Radio
TV
X
Newsletter
Facebook Twitter
X Welcome! Subscribe to our newsletter and receive news, data, statistical and exclusive promotions for subscribers
World

After 30 Years, Museum Gets Stolen Piece by Modern Master

The painting titled "Woman-Ochre", by Willem de Kooning, was stolen the day after Thanksgiving in 1985

A painting titled "Painting" by artist Willem de Kooning, author of the painting "Woman-Ochre" stolen over 30 years ago from the University of Arizona Museum of Art, photo: Flickr
1 week ago

PHOENIX – More than three decades after thieves made off with a valuable painting from the University of Arizona Museum of Art, officials say they have recovered the long sought piece from an antique dealer in New Mexico.

The museum that was home to the Willem de Kooning “Woman-Ochre” painting spent years hoping to get it back after two people stole the painting the day after Thanksgiving in 1985.

That dream finally came true when furniture and antique dealer David Van Auker called the museum from Silver City, New Mexico. Marketing Manager Gina Compitello-Moore said Auker bought the painting at an estate sale and later began researching it when he read an article about the heist that depicted an identical looking piece.

“When I got the phone call, this is literally the phone call I’ve been dreaming of — is somebody calling my phone and saying I think I have your stolen painting and that’s what he said,” museum curator Olivia Miller said.


Miller said it really stood out to her when Van Auker mentioned damaging lines across the canvas that made it look as if it had been rolled up. Miller said a former museum curator was in utter disbelief and elated when she told her the painting was recovered.

Police have said a man and woman were the sole visitors the day the painting was stolen. They say the woman distracted a security officer by making small-talk while the man cut the painting from the large frame, leaving the edges of the canvas attached.

The FBI said its agents continue to investigate the theft.

Dr. Nancy Odegaard, a conservator with the university, said she used a tool kit, magnifying glass and an ultra violet lamp to meticulously examine the painting. Odegaard looked for verifying marks of damage and repair on the piece consistent with previous conservation reports.

Odegaard said she also compared the lines of cutting on the original and laid the cut portion on top.

“Then we started looking at where the edges would go,” Odegaard said. “For me which was a really dramatic connection — a paint stroke that clearly went across both pieces.” The conservator said the various clues showed it was a perfect match.


The museum also plans to bring in a de Kooning expert to examine the painting for further authentication.

In 2015, the museum displayed the empty wooden frame that once held the painting along with sketches of the suspects to remind visitors of the heist on its 30 year anniversary.

“There are numerous people on staff that have said that the vision of the career highlight was having this painting returned,” Interim Director Meg Hagyard said. “And to actually be here in this moment in time for everybody is really, really emotional and exciting.”

CLARICE SILBER

Comments Whatsapp Twitter Facebook Share
More From The News
Sports

Erik Jones Wins 1st Cup Pole in Critical ...

3 hours ago
World

Icahn Steps Down as Unofficial Trump Adv ...

3 hours ago
World

Barcelona's Victims Include U.S. Man Cel ...

3 hours ago
World

Spanish Plan for Carnage Started with Bo ...

4 hours ago
Most Popular

German Toolmakers Open up Shop in San Mi ...

By Ricardo Castillo
Business

UAEM Celebrates 45th Anniversary of Medi ...

By The News
Mexico

What You're Doing This Weekend in Mexico ...

By The News
Living

Mazatlán's Many Historical Firsts

By Bob Schulman
Living

Thousands to Be Evacuated From Lebanon-S ...

By The Associated Press
World