An Owl vase made by Pablo Picasso was swiped from a Manhattan gallery, police said Tuesday. The 10-inch ceramic piece is estimated to be worth about US$30,000. Chelsea’s ACA Gallery noticed that it was gone May 10, but a police report wasn’t filed until Monday.
Several artworks, including 11 lithographs by Pablo Picasso, were stolen from the corporate collection of Portigon AG, a financial services company from North Rhine-Westphalia.
Portigon was formed in 2012 as the legal successor WestLB, the Western German state Bank. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the theft this past Friday in Düsseldorf.
Pablo Picasso famously once said, “We all know that art is not the truth.”
With the recent conclusion of the first lawsuit filed against the now defunct, Knoedler Gallery of New York, for selling forgeries, the art world has been abuzz with stories of high-end fakes and the grave issue of false attributions. However, it is a universally established fact that forgeries are not a recent phenomenon but in fact have only grown in prevelance over the last four centuries.
Currently, the FBI estimates that art theft, fraud, looting, and trafficking across state and international lines are a “looming criminal enterprise with estimated losses running as high as $6 billion annually.”