Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Pinterest Icon Twitter Icon Youtube Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video
  • Stolen Willem de Kooning painting turns up in New Mexico
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • antiquesartauckerdekooningmuseumpaintingpiecestolentitledvaluablewillemwoman-ochreworkworth

Stolen Willem de Kooning painting turns up in New Mexico

Earlier this month a stolen painting by expressionist Willem de Kooning turned up in a New Mexico antiques store.

Titled Woman-Ochre, it's worth an estimated $160m.

stolen de Kooning

Woman-Ochre will be returned to the University of Arizona Museum of Art - the FBI investigation continues

The piece went missing from the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tuscon in 1985.

Two thieves were involved in the heist. A woman managed to get the guard’s attention, while her male accomplice cut the painting from its frame and secured it under his jacket.

No trace of the mysterious couple, or the painting, was ever found.

That was until August 2017, when David Van Aucker, owner of Manzanita Ridge Furniture and Antiques in Silver City, New Mexico, bought an unusual painting in an estate sale.

He had no idea what it was or how much it was worth, but liked it and put it on display in his window.

Soon after, a customer walked in and asked whether the work was a real de Kooning.

Van Aucker did some googling and was astonished to discover he’d just acquired one of the most valuable stolen artworks of all time.

He got in touch with the FBI, who contacted the museum.

De Kooning holds the record for the most valuable painting ever sold, after a piece titled Interchange achieved around $300m in a private deal in 2015.

As an indication of how much his market has changed over the past 30 years, Woman-Ochre was valued at $400,000 at the time it was taken – equating to growth of 20.5% per annum.  

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about art and photography auctions.

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • antiquesartauckerdekooningmuseumpaintingpiecestolentitledvaluablewillemwoman-ochreworkworth