Stolen de Kooning returns to US museum (ctd).

January 4 2018

Image of Stolen de Kooning returns to US museum (ctd).

Picture: Silver City Sun News

It looks like the stolen $160m de Kooning abstract that was recently returned to the University of Arizona was stolen by a retired schoolteacher and his wife, who were simply de Kooning fans. Woman Ochre was stolen in 1985 by a couple who distracted a security guard on Thanksgiving Day - and was never seen until it was taken to an antiques store in 2017. The house in which the picture was found belonged to Rita and Jerome Alters, and there is much evidence to connect them to the theft. It turns out - according to the Silver City Sun News - that the painting used to hang behind the bedroom door (above), and seems to have been there since 1985:

Circumstantial evidence continues to pop up as this case proceeds with time. A search of the home quickly showed that the Alters like de Kooning, as several replica pieces were hanging throughout the home. 

The master bedroom window were the painting was found was blacked out. The de Kooning hung behind the bedroom door, concealed unless the door was closed. There was also a huge screw on the bottom of the wall where the painting was mounted so the door couldn't accidentally hit the painting when it was opened. 

A local Cliff artist said she had done a painting for the Alters and it was them on top of some horses in the Himalayas. When she went to the home to take a photo of it, she went into the bedroom where the painting was hanging. On her way out, she noticed the de Kooning on the wall and asked about it. She said the Alters didn't want to talk about the painting. 

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