Port Vila, Efate (PressExposure) September 27, 2009 -- An unspecified source has put up a million dollar reward, for any information leading the way to the recovery of the multi-million dollar original sports collection of pop art portraits, by Andy Warhol.
Housekeeper for Richard L. Weisman reported that 11 portraits had been stolen from the dining-room walls of Weisman's West Los Angeles home. Weisman, a former investment banker and member of a prominent art collecting family, is a well known art collector.
According to the head of LAPDâs art theft detail, Det. Donald Hrycyk, there was no sign of forced entry into the residence and nothing else had been disturbed, including Warhols other paintings on nearby walls. The police hold no leads or suspects other than a hazy description of a maroon-coloured van that may have been in the driveway approximately around the time the paintings disappeared.
Weisman was friends with Warhol and who painted the brightly coloured silk screen paintings of famous athletes, in the late 1970s. It was a period when Warhol created hundreds of look-alike paintings for well-heeled patrons. The athlete series is widely recognized, though not considered to be among Warholâs best work.
The 10 portraits included Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill, boxing great Muhammad Ali, Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, tennis champion Chris Evert and past football star O.J. Simpson. The silk-screen portraits measured 40 inches square. Weismanâs portrait was stolen as well.
In a recent interview, Weisman said âI commissioned him to do this set of athletes because, generally speaking, the worlds of art and sports don't mesh that well". In May, Weismann loaned out the collection for a benefit exhibition.
It is thought that Weisman possessed a few of the sets. The investigation will be confused by the fact that the athlete set is one of several. Each set looks very similar, but was designed with a different colour scheme.
Director of the Greenfield Sacks Gallery in Santa Monica, Tyler Lemkin, which recently opened a show of Warhol prints, alleged that original Warhol paintings on canvas, such as the ones that were stolen "Start in the high six figures, or $1 million. Weisman has lost a significant amount of important art".
The entire value of the work could not be immediately assessed. Weisman tried to sell the sports collection for $3 million in 2002.
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