Braque Painting Recovered 39 Years After Theft
Apr 9, 2009
A stolen Georges Braque painting, La Théière mauve sur la nappe rayée has been recovered 39 years after it was stolen from New York art dealer Richard L. Feigen. The small canvas, painted in 1953, was stolen from Mr. Feigen’s gallery on November 12, 1969. Despite the recovery of the picture, the crime remains unsolved. The painting ended up in the hands of a Japanese artist living and working in New York City, who gave it to a friend back in Japan. The painting remained in this individual’s private collection for over 25 years. The collector died recently, at which point his son decided to sell his art collection. The Braque painting was consigned to Christie’s London in June 2008.
The painting surfaced during a routine catalogue check of upcoming Christie’s sales. At the time of the incident, the theft was reported to the Art Dealers’ Association of America (ADAA) who maintained a database of stolen art before it was transferred to the International Foundation for Art Research in New York. Mr. Feigen provided a photo of the stolen item to the ADAA, which perfectly matched the item in the catalogue. Once the artwork was identified, it was pulled from the sale.
Christopher A. Marinello mediated the dispute and was able to negotiate a favorable settlement between all involved parties. In late 2008, the painting was successfully returned to Mr. Feigen’s gallery.
Marinello stated that “It is not uncommon for stolen art to travel great distances. If an artwork is not recovered in the days and weeks following the theft, it often takes a generation for artwork to resurface on the market. Many people don’t realize that it is never too late to report a stolen item. It may take years for stolen art to resurface, but it WILL resurface eventually, and when it does, we’ll be there.”