It’s great that they caught the thief. It appears that he was an amateur who barely even bothered to cover his tracks.
A former Capitol Police officer who worked nights at the governor’s mansion in Maple Bluff was charged Friday with stealing and selling a state-owned painting by renowned Wisconsin artist Aaron Bohrod.
A state employee tracked the stolen painting down on the Internet.
The surreal-style painting called “Gold Fantasy Box” was discovered missing from storage at the residence last month and recovered from a Connecticut art dealer. It was sold in February 2011, according to a criminal complaint and the dealer.
More interesting to me is the debate over the value of the piece:
Though the complaint quotes a state employee, Joan Sample, estimating the artwork to be worth “$100,000 or greater,” the art dealer who bought the stolen painting paid “about $2,000” for it and had it for sale for $3,000. The dealer, Donald Barese, of Don Barese Fine Art and Antiques in Hamden, Connecticut, said he would “probably give it an insurance value of $5,000.”
He had his canceled check for $1,800, dated March 2, 2011.
“It didn’t sell,” Barese said. “I had it up for sale for four years.”
So here’s this painting that a state employee says is worth $100k or more. The art dealer thinks it’s worth about $3k, but paid $1,800 for it. But nobody bought it after four years, so the street value for it appears to be far below $3k. By its nature, the value of art is fickle, but I do wonder if the state had the piece insured, and if so, for how much?