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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Tsetsi can be reached at 781-674-7731 or email@example.com.