PAINTING FOUND: Search on for local owner of formerly long lost art
By Eric Tsetsi/Staff Writer

Winchester, MA –

About 37 years after it was first reported stolen, a painting belonging to a Winchester resident has been re-discovered.

According to the Art Loss Register, an international non-profit organization that tries to deter art theft and locate stolen items, the painting was recently discovered in the estate of William Kingsland.

When he died, Kingsland left behind more than 300 works of art in his New York City apartment, many of which were later identified as stolen, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, and Eugene Boudin were found stacked to the ceiling of his one-bedroom apartment.

Among the paintings, investigators found a work of art by George Benjamin Luks, called “The Materialists.” The watercolor and pencil painting, approximately 8 by 10 inches in size, was last recorded as having belonged to William Young of Winchester.

The FBI and the Art Loss Register are trying to track down Young, or his heirs.

“We’re still looking for whoever it was stolen from,” said Laurel Waycott, of the Art Loss Register. “It’s kind of an unusual case for us.”

According to Waycott, the Art Loss Register first learned about the stolen painting when a stack of theft notices from the 1970s was donated to the organization. If her organization is able to determine whom the art was stolen from, it would return the art to the owner’s family estate, she said.

Exactly who Kingsland was and how he obtained the stolen paintings is a bit of a mystery.

“We don’t really know how this guy got everything he had, whether he stole it himself or got it from other people,” said Waycott.

According to a spokesman for the FBI, when he died, Kingsland left no will and no apparent heirs to claim his possessions. In fact, William Kingsland wasn’t even his birth name. He was born Melvyn Kohn.

He changed his name to “Kingsland” to fit in with New York’s elite artist community, which he apparently infiltrated, eventually gaining a reputation as a connoisseur of fine art and literature.

FBI agent Jim Wynne of the Art Crime Team is investigating the thefts. Contacted last Monday, Wynne directed questions about the case to the FBI’s press office, which did not immediately return a call for comment.

According to Waycott, the painting is valued at about $1,000 to $2,000.

“It’s not a terribly valuable work of art, but it would be great to see it get back to the people who lost it,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Some of the other paintings that the Art Loss Register has successfully returned to their rightful owners include “Still Life With Fruit” and “Jug” by Paul Cezanne, “Still Life With Peaches” by Edouard Manet, and “Woman in White Reading a Book” by Pablo Picasso.
A listing for Young no longer exists in Winchester.

If you have any information about the stolen painting, “The Materialists,” or a forwarding address for Young, you can contact Waycott at 212-297-0941 or lwaycott@alrny.com.

Eric Tsetsi can be reached at 781-674-7731 or etsetsi@cnc.com.

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October 24th, 2008

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May 24th, 2008

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March 13th, 2008

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February 24th, 2008

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This was not your standard art theft. There was no break-in, no guards tied to a chair, no high speed chases and no laser beams from the ceiling. What Brigham Young University Museum had to contend with was a Collections Manager who decided to help himself to hundreds of paintings that were part of the museum’s collection. It started some time in the early 1970’s and continued surreptiously over a period of fifteen years until the Collections Manager was caught and prosecuted in 1987.

The missing works were registered with The International Foundation for Art Research and transferred to The Art Loss Register when the ALR was formed in the U.K. in 1991. With the help of The Art Loss Register, the museum hopes it will recover much of the missing artwork.

Recently, Mahonri Young’s Port Washington Point, Long Island, NY was located by the ALR in their routine search of Christie’s auction catalogs. The ALR searches auction houses, dealers, museums, and on-line auctions for stolen or missing artwork and objects.

The Young painting was matched by the ALR team as one of the stolen BYU pictures and the recovery process was underway. Christie’s cooperated with the ALR and pulled the piece from the sale. As is often the case, Christie’s consignor turned out to be a good faith purchaser (from Boca Raton, Florida) who was simply selling part of her collection to make room for some new acquisitions. She had purchased the piece from a dealer many years earlier.

The consignor was made aware of US law and came to understand that even though she purchased the painting in good faith, she did not necessarily have good title. After extensive negotiations with The Art Loss Register’s New York recovery specialist, the work was returned to Brigham Young University after a 30 year absence. The ALR was able to get the consignor back her purchase price which helped to make up for the loss of the picture.

Chris Marinello, the Executive Director and General Counsel in the ALR’s New York office did much of the recovery work. “We could not have accomplished this without the fantastic efforts of the BYU University police department. Thirty years after the theft and they still had detailed records and recollections that helped to resolve this matter”.

Marinello says that this case shows the strength of the ALR database. “It doesn’t matter if you were a recent victim of art theft or whether it happened fifty years ago. The key is to contact the ALR and get your item registered so we have a chance to find it. “Our art recovery service can save potential claimants thousands of dollars in legal fees”. “I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people give more money to their lawyers than the value of their artwork”.

Museums, dealers, and collectors alike can register stolen items with The Art Loss Register using their new web based platform at www.artloss.com.

The Art Loss Register maintains offices in London, New York, Amsterdam, Cologne, Paris and New Delhi.

January 9th, 2008

Posted In: the Art Loss Register