Tuesday - Apr 23, 2019

Painter’s Rufi no Tamayo’s stolen painting may reach $1 million at auction

by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Tres Personajes, la pintura robada de Rufi no TamayoRufi no Tamayo’s stolen painting, Three Personages

ART FOR A STEAL: A painting by the late Mexican master Rufi no Tamayo stolen 20 years ago and reportedly recovered from the trash is expected to fetch up to $1 million at auction next month.

Tres personajes, a 1970 colorful work from Tamayo’s mature period, was purchased for $55,000 by an unidentifi ed Houston couple in 1977. It was stolen in 1987 from a warehouse where they had placed it while moving. The painting was recently featured in the “Missing Masterpieces” segment of the PBS program Antiques Roadshow.

New York resident Elizabeth Gibson did not immediately identify the painting when she found it, according to an interview with the Associated Press, Iying in trash along a street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She picked it up and took it home and later identified it when her research led her to the Antiques Roadshow Web site.

New York auction house Sotheby’s said the painting could bring between $750,00 and $1 million when it is sold at its Latin American Art auction on Nov. 20. Gibson will receive the $15,000 reward the Houston couple put up when it was stolen, plus an undisclosed percentage of the sale of the painting.

The theft of the painting is still being investigated by authorities.

Born in 1899 in Oaxaca, Tamayo is considered one of Mexico’s most important 20th century painters. Coincidentally, a retrospective of the artist —who died in 1991—opened last week at the Museo Tamayo Ante Contemporáneo in Mexico City.


  • A New Jersey truck driver who stole a 1778 painting by Spanish master Francisco de Goya from an unattended truck and then claimed he found it in his basement was charged last week with theft.

Niños con carro, insured at a value of about $1 million, was being transported from the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan to the institution that owns it, the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art. It’s been returned undamaged.

  • Burglars broke into a ­foundry in Tuscany, Italy, this month and stole seven bronze statues by Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The insured works, valued at about $5 million in total, depict figures in Botero’s known rounded style.
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