A New Mexico couple had a stolen De Kooning painting hanging in their bedroom, the local newspaper Silver City Daily Press reports. Woman-Ochre, which was taken from the University of Arizona Museum of Art 30 years ago, resurfaced this month when a New Mexico antiques dealer acquired it as part of an estate sale. When the “good Samaritan” realised what it was, the painting was swiftly returned to the university.
According to the museum, the theft took place at 9am on 29 November 1985, when a man and a woman followed a museum staff member inside the gallery. “The man wandered up to the second floor while the woman chatted with a security guard. The man spent just under 10 minutes on the second floor, cutting Woman-Ochre out of its wood frame with a sharp blade. Leaving remnants of the painting’s canvas edges behind, the man slipped the painting under a garment, walked back down the stairs and reunited with his accomplice. The two hurried out of the museum and never returned. The heist took no more than 15 minutes,” the museum said in news statement.
Arizona police circulated a composite sketch of the thieves and they were described by the university in a 2015 post about the theft as: “a woman in her mid-50s with shoulder-length reddish-blond hair, wearing tan bell-bottom slacks, a scarf on her head and a red coat, and a man with olive-colored skin, wearing a blue coat. Both had thick-framed glasses.” read more