Saturday, March 03, 2007

Must Be Nice To Be Too Rich to Pay Attention to a $700K Asset

In Art News this morning, authorities have tracked down the Norman Rockwell work Russian Schoolroom to the walls of Hollywood uberguy and alleged noted Rockwell collector Steven Spielberg.

Now, this painting was stolen a long time ago. A couple of years ago, the FBI kickstarted a specific investigation to find it. Here's a snippet from an AP report on the FBI initiative (found with a simple Google search "norman rockwell russian schoolroom":

FBI sets out to find missing painting
By Jeff Douglas (The Associated Press)
ST. LOUIS - A Norman Rockwell painting that was stolen more than 30 years ago was sold in 1988, and federal officials now are trying to find out who bought it.

FBI officials said Thursday that the agency's Art Crime Team, created in 2004, has several leads in the theft of Rockwell's "Russian Schoolroom," stolen in June 1973 from a suburban St. Louis exhibit and believed to be worth as much as $200,000 today.

"What's weird is we didn't know it was stolen," said Linda Pero, curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. "I was really surprised when the FBI called me."

Pero's museum passed up a chance to bid on the painting in 1988 when it was sold for $70,400 at an auction in New Orleans.

It is believed the painting was advertised for sale in 1989 at a Rockwell exhibit in New York, but nobody made the connection until recently, officials said. "The experts have said there are no other copies of this oil painting," FBI Assistant Special Agent Steven Gomez said.

In fact, one of the top two hits for that search took Sheena right to the FBI.Gov page on this painting

Now, Sheena buys the line that it was purchased from a legit dealer, and they only figured it out just now that it was hot goods, and that they called the authorities right away. But she also firmly believes that someone too stupid or lazy to Google, or too stupid and lazy to hire someone not too stupid or lazy to Google or to work with an insurance company too lazy or stupid to Google their art collection probably deserves a few big box office bombs over the next couple of years.


At 1:13 PM, Blogger tfg said...

I sure hope my Dogs Playing Poker doesn't turn out to be hot, too.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger whitenoise said...

You have one of those, too? I thought mine was the original...

At 8:48 PM, Blogger tkkerouac said...

Is this the painting above?

At 8:58 PM, Blogger pumpernickel said...


Just to clarify...Spielberg had the "hot" painting?


At 11:10 PM, Blogger Sheena said...

That is my understanding, pumpernickel.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Yes, Spielberg had it - he's got a massive Rockwell collection, possibly the largest, but don't quote me on that.

I find it amazing that he never knew - he adores Rockwell, and I love to find out things about stuff that I adore. Crazy - guess he's too busy to surf the net, which makes me feel bad about myself. :(

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

Isn't it amazing that Spielberg was so brilliant in the 70s and early 80s? Like, untouchably brilliant, virtually everything he did was wondrous. It's so interesting to me how people change in life, it's fascinating.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Fenderbender said...

a few box office bombs to go along with his last dozen critical bombs, seems fair to me

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Brooklyn Frank said...

I have Cats Playing Gin, myself.


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