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
11 of August 2017 19:28:54
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.
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."
VIDEO: UA police chief relives 1985 theft of de Kooning painting pic.twitter.com/sAJkYtsG1t— azcentral (@azcentral) 11 de agosto de 2017