Priceless Stolen Painting, ‘Woman-Ochre,’ Resurfaces After 31 Years

Iconic painting by Willem de Kooning returned to University of Arizona Museum of Art.

August 16, 2017 3:58 pm

An iconic painting by Willem de Kooning entitled, “Woman-Ochre,” has finally returned home — 31 years after being stolen from a museum.

 In 1985, de Kooning’s painting disappeared from the University of Arizona Museum of Art, reports CNNPolice suspect a couple cut the painting from its frame.

But finally, in August, the owner of an antiques store called the museum to say that he had found it at an estate stale. It is expected to go back on display once it is slightly restored.

“We returned something that was stolen, and that’s something everyone should do,” David Van Auker told The Arizona Republic. “It absolutely had to come back.”

He told the paper that he deduced the painting was the stolen one after a neighbor commented that the appeared resembled a de Kooning work, a remark that spawned a web search and an article about the heist.

The value of the painting is unclear, but a similar work in de Kooning’s “Woman” series sold for $137.5 million ten years ago, according to the newspaper.

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