Where Stolen Art Used to Be, Museum Now Displays Drawings of the Suspects
On the day after Thanksgiving in 1985, Willem de Kooning’s painting “Woman–Ochre” was stolen from the University of Arizona’s Museum of Art in Tucson. Thirty years later, the museum is far from over it.
Next to the empty frame that once displayed the piece are composite drawings of the two suspects police say were responsible for the heist. The alleged perpetrators were a man and woman who walked into the museum to commit the crime shortly after it opened. The woman, who appeared to be in her mid-50s, chatted up a security guard while the man, likely in his 20s, cut the $600,000 painting out of its frame.
Despite the eyewitness descriptions, local police had no luck in tracking down the thieves. The man had been seen wearing a mustache and glasses, possibly as a way to conceal his identity, and, according to police, the woman may also have been dressed in disguise.
The painting has been missing in action for the three decades since, but the museum hasn’t given up hope for its eventual return. Gina Compitello-Moore, the museum’s marketing director, says now is as good a time as any to draw attention to the heist because in the time since its disappearance, the painting might have changed hands—and now be in the possession of someone unaware of its illicit origins. "We have not given up hope about getting the painting back,” she told the Huffington Post. "By not having it, it's almost as if a member of our family is missing.”
[h/t: Huffington Post]