BERLIN — The boisterous sculptures and strident upside-down paintings of the Neo-Expressionist Georg Baselitz are known the world over. But when more than $3 million worth of works from his personal collection, including some he had created, disappeared from a German storage depot, it took months before anyone noticed.
Prosecutors have arrested three suspects, all of whom worked in the shipping industry. They believe a 39-year-old man from the western city of Düsseldorf used insider knowledge to steal 19 pieces of art owned by Mr. Baselitz from the depot near Munich between June 2015 and March 2016. He then passed the works on to a father and son, who attempted to sell them for “far below” market value, Munich prosectors said in a statement on Tuesday. The three men have not yet provided full statements to police, prosecutors said.
The authorities believe that the father and son, aged 51 and 26, from the city of Leverkusen, just south of Düsseldorf, managed to sell only one piece of art before an insurance company became suspicious and informed police.
“After it was determined that the painting on offer had been stolen, the loss of further paintings quickly came to light,” the statement said. Read more