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Stolen, Missing, Discovered Art

William Kingsland’s stolen art stash

The Bronx born man, Melvyn Kohn, alias, William Kingsland, was a greatly admired art afficionado, moving amongst the elitist inner circle of New York art collectors. He was a debonair gentleman, with an encyclopedic knowledge of art and literature. He spoke often of his prized collection, though few, if any of his friends, had ever been invited to his Manhattan home to view it.

Upon his death in 2006, due to the fact that Kingsland left no will, his estate fell into the hands of the state of New York, and that is when his movie-like ruse of a life began to unravel. The authorities found his tiny one bedroom apartment filled to the chocker-block with valuable artworks. It appears that William loved being surrounded by beautiful art as much as he loved being surrounded by the people who could afford to collect it.

When Christie’s and Stair Galleries were called in to research the provenance of the artwork, they had a rude awakening. It seems most of the pieces housed in Kingsland’s collection had been reported stolen in the 1960′s and 1970′s.

Amongst the pieces, was a valuable drawing by Camille Corot, titled, the Landscape with Bridge.

It can only be surmised that Melvyn, one of the most entertaining 20th Century art rogues, had taken the name of William Kingsland, for believing it had just the right ring to play to the ears of the chic Manhattan crowd, of which he, so madly, wanted to be a member.

It is just such a love of the life of art that makes art theft, often looked upon, with a wink and a smile in the world of crime today.

 

Stolen Corot drawing, Landscape with Bridge

Stolen Corot drawing, Landscape with Bridge

 

Corot theft at the Louvre

On May 3, 1998, a most embarrassing theft took place at The Louvre museum in Paris. While hundreds of visitors were enjoying this lovely Sunday afternoon, touring the grand halls of the world’s most secure art institute, a very sly thief pried open a glass security case, containing a thirteen by nineteen inch Corot canvas, unnoticed, and sliced it from around its frame.

Upon the discovery of the missing picture, the exit doors were immediately locked, and every bag carried by every visitor, was checked thoroughly, until the search was concluded, unsuccessfully, many hours later. The stolen artwork is the Le Chemin de Sevres, painted by Camille Corot in 1858-1859. The small pil painting with a value of $1.3 million dollars has yet to be found.

 

Stolen Camille Corot painting,  Le Chemin de Sevres, 1858-1859

Stolen Camille Corot painting, Le Chemin de Sevres, 1858-1859

 

 

Recovered Corot artwork

Five other Corot paintings were stolen from the Museum of Semur-en-Auxois in southern France in 1984, supposedly for Japanese collectors. Four of the five paintings were recovered in the store window of a Tokyo art dealer’s gallery and returned to their rightful owner in France.

Montreal Museum theft of two Corot paintings

On September 4, 1972, in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, two figure paintings by Corot were stolen during a large heist. La reveuse a la fontaine and Jeune fille accoudee sur le bras gauche, considered to be priceless, have yet to be recovered.

Discovered Camille Corot artwork

In 1999, Corot’s Road descending from the town of Volterra, was discovered in a bank safe rented by the late François Daulte. Daulte was a leading expert in Impressionist works. This was part of a collection reported stolen by Yves Rouart. Still missing from Rouart is Corot’s Dreaming Bohemian Girl.

French dealer’s residence theft of Corot painting

In Le Pecq, France on March of 2008, an antique dealer’s home was robbed. Thieves took about 30 paintings, one of which was by Corot.

Stolen Camille Corot paintings registered with Interpol

Landscape
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Painting remounted on canvas
Complement: Landscape with a thicket of trees on the right and a single tree on its own on the left
Size: 58 cm High x 86 cm Wide
Country of theft: Canada

Landscape
Painting Oil
Complement: Copy after a painting by Corot
Size: 61 cm High x 76 cm Wide
Country of theft: Canada

Gold Panning in Italy
Drawing
Complement: A seal marked “Vente Corot” in lower left corner
referring to posthumous sale of Corot’s work
Size: 27 cm High x 43 cm Wide
Country of theft: France

Portrait of Madame Baudot Nee Sennegon
Painting with Signature
Inscription: Corot 1837
Complement: Full Title: Portrait of Madame Baudot, Nee Blanche Sennegon
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Size: 39 cm High x 31 cm Wide
Country of theft: France

Young Girl Leaning on Left Elbow
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Complement: French School of Ville d’Avray
Size: 46 cm High x 38 cm Wide
Country of theft: Canada

Girl Musing by a Fountain
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Signature: Legible signature bottom right
Size: 65 cm High x 46 cm Wide
Country of theft: Canada

Squall
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Size: 60 cm High x 81 cm Wide
Country of theft: Italy

Woman with Yellow Flower
Painting Oil
Wood
Signature: Legible signature on top left
Size: 31 cm High x 25 cm Wide
Country of theft: Italy

A House in a Garden
Painting oil
Wood
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Signature: Legible signature bottom left
Size: 22.9 cm High x 26.3 cm Wide
Country of theft: Czech Republic

Two Little Girls in a Field
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Signature: With signature bottom right
Country of theft: France

View of Turbie
Drawing Pencil
Signature: Without signature
Complement: Attributed to Camille Jean Baptiste Corot
Approximate Size: 33.5 cm High x 40 cm Wide
Country of theft: France

Landscape
Painting Oil
Wood
Approximate Size: 37 cm High x44 cm Wide
Country of theft: Germany

In the Meadow
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Approximate Size: 33 cm High x 41 cm Wide
Country of theft: Italy

Village Near a River
Painting Oil
Paper/Papier Mache
Complement: Dimensions include frame
Size: 30 cm High x 30 cm Wide
Country of theft: Slovenia

Landscape
Painting Oil
Paper/Papier Mache
Complement: Large tree in center with red tiled roof building behind
Size: 29 cm High x 23 cm Wide
Country of theft: Italy

Landscape with Country Road
Painting Oil
Canvas/Cotton/Fabric/Linen
Approximate Size: 30 cm High x 45 cm Wide
Country of theft: Italy