“Woman-Ochre” of Willem de Kooning.
A new idea has arisen to explain how a modest New Mexico couple wound in the possession of a stolen Willem de Kooning painting to the value of more than $100 million.
The University of Arizona museum reported the theft of the abstract expressionist’s “Woman-Ochre” in November 1985. The painting was found, a year ago, in a house in New Mexico that belong to Jerry and Rita Change.
The cheeky thieves were a man and a woman who was never caught. Officials believe that they are derived from a guard, cut the painting from the frame, rolled it up and brought it out under a jacket for the flight in a red sports car.
A newly unearthed family photo it Turns into Tucson at the time of the theft, according to The Arizona Republic. The photo was taken on Thanksgiving Day, the day before the painting was stolen. It also appears to resemble the composite sketches of the suspects that were released at the time.
Rita Alter’s cousin Ron Roseman told the newspaper that he did not want to believe that his aunt and uncle could have bene involved in a major art theft.
THE SWEDISH CROWN JEWELS ARE STOLEN FROM THE 900-YEAR OLD CHURCH WITH A SPEEDBOAT-BE THIEVES AWAY
Are these the same people? Newly discovered photo of Jerry and Rita Change in 1985 in Tucson. A day later, a valuable painting is stolen in the same city and police release sketch of suspects. The full story: https://t.co/vucURHwX5L pic.twitter.com/XLwaRCF9Eq
— Anne Ryman (@anneryman) August 2, 2018
“We have no idea when they got it, how they were, if they were involved, if they bought it from someone. Ultimately, there is a lot of chance,” Roseman told the newspaper.
At the same time, he also offered another clue that may link his uncle and aunt to disappear.
He told the newspaper that all the cars they owned over the years were red.
Composite sketches were released after a man and a woman steal a valuable de Kooning painting from the University of Arizona museum in 1985.
“They had a blue car,” he said.
The FBI was not to talk about the matter, the paper reported.
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The Changes were 81 when they each died in 2012 and 2017. Roseman handled the sale of their goods to an antique shop owner, David Van Auker.
Van Auker found the de Kooning behind a door in the bedroom—if it is hidden from the visitors to the house.
“I honestly think that this has been there since the day it was stolen,” he said.
Van Auker was not aware that the painting he bought was a valuable work of art, the paper reported.
He contacted the FBI and the museum, once a client is told that the painting could be an original de Kooning, and he saw 2015 as a news article on the unsolved theft.