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Miraculous recovery of stolen Tomayo painting!
Posted by TK on 12/20/2007 6:14:37 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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The abstract work, Tres Personajes, created in 1970 by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, sold for $1,049,000 US to an unidentified U.S. collector at a Sotheby's auction in New York.

The painting, an important piece from Tomayo’s mature body of work, was purchased at a Sotheby’s auction over thirty years ago in 1977 and then stolen in 1987. Investigations did not turn up any leads and the painting remained missing until Manhattan writer, Elizabeth Gibson, unexpectedly found the painting between two dumpsters in 2003 during a morning walk.

Although she doesn’t particularly care for modern art, she rescued the art work because she felt that it was wrong for any piece of art to be discarded like that. Initially unaware of its significance, it took her nearly four years of investigating to find out who the work really belonged to.

Something about the painting pulled her in, Gibson told CBC News. "It is huge and it's very brilliant-colored, very abstract, but you can make out three figures and it's just very powerful, it's overwhelming," she said.

While watching a Missing Masterpiece segment on an episode of Antiques Road Show, Gibson learned of the importance of the painting and that it had been stolen in 1987 from a Texas warehouse. She contacted Sotheby's auction house, who located the owners. The widow of the Houston man who originally bought the painting decided to sell the work.

Gibson received a $15,000 US reward and will reportedly get a percentage of the sale price.

Tres Personajes (Three People).
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