One of over 3,000 paintings from a multimillion dollar multi-year art theft conspiracy perpetrated by an inside man at a New York gallery has turned up in Miami after going missing 48 years ago.
Art Recovery International announced that La Porte St. Denis, a Parisian street scene by Antoine Blanchard, was discovered after it was consigned to a Miami gallery in November 2015 by an unnamed “private individual.”
According to a press release by Art Recovery International, the work was stolen by a former employee of the Herbert Arnot Gallery, who used his access to the gallery holdings to regularly steal large amounts of art over a 12-year period between 1954 and 1968.
After leaving his job at the gallery, Louis Edelman was arrested in Chicago with over 800 stolen paintings in his possession. Edelman was subsequently charged with transporting stolen goods over state borders and was sentenced to two years in prison.
To this day, a large number of paintings remain unaccounted for. The painting in question was identified on the website of a Miami art gallery. The work belonged to a building contractor who accepted the painting as payment for maintenance work.
Aided by the efficient American art theft legal framework—which makes no exceptions for good faith, passage of time, or number of owners since theft—Art Recovery International facilitated the return of the work to the Herbert Arnot Gallery.
“With every recovery it feels like we’re a step closer to making right this decades-old crime,” Christopher Marinello, CEO of Art Recovery International said in a statement.
“The internet can play a very important role in tracking down stolen art and we encourage victims to register their losses for free on the non-profit ARTIVE Database (www.artive.org) for the best chance to identify and recover claimed works,” he added.