Saturday, March 03, 2007

Breaking News! - "Schoolroom" Found!!

I'm so jazzed, I can hardly stand it!

Over on my author web site (http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/), I recently revamped my Stealth and Wealth contest. I think it's been up for only a little over a week. The contest features various stolen paintings with a matching game to their artist. Norman Rockwell's "Russian Schoolroom," one of the featured stolen paintings has JUST been found! You'll never guess who had the Rockwell that's been missing since 1973--the famous movie director, Steven Spielberg!!!

The Associated Press reports that Spielberg bought the painting in 1989 from a legitimate dealer. But last week one of his staff spotted the painting listed on the FBI's "most wanted" art page. The Hollywood director was notified, and he ordered the authorities to be called. An FBI agent and an art expert examined the painting and found it to be authentic.

The no-longer-missing Rockwell as valued at $700,000. Wow! That's a sizeable chunk of change, but the report says that Spielberg and his staff didn't flinch a second at reporting what they had. Big thumbs up for Mr. Spielberg.

There are oodles of more details about the theft, sightings and disappearances since it was taken over three decades ago, and now the recovery. I find the information fascinating. If you do, too, you can go to this web address and read more: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17430445/?GT1=9145

Hearing about stuff like this is pretty cool in itself, but to me it feels like a validation of the art theft aspects of my stories. FBI agents and civilian experts really do work together, and art really is recovered in the oddest ways.

Okay, I need to quit hyperventilating and go watch a tivoed episode of Criminal Minds.

3 comments:

Sally Bradley said...

Okay, Jill, I'm curious. Who do they think stole it? And when was it stolen and from who?

Jill said...

Good questions, Sally. I found no information on who they think stole it. I don't think that's known. It was taken in 1973 in a smash and grab heist from the Clayton Art Gallery in suburban St. Louis. It must have passed through several hands in order to have been auctioned in 1989 to Spielberg through a legitimate dealership. This is fairly typical of the art theft world. Pieces disappear for decades and then are found in unlikely places. Spielberg may get to keep the painting since the Clayton Art Gallery is defunct, and he bought it legitimately.

Sally Bradley said...

Thanks, Jill. And I thought every heist was like something from the movies!