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Stolen painting worth $165M found behind bedroom door

CLIFF, NEW MEXICO – Ron Roseman loved the stories Rita and Jerome “Jerry” Alter, his favorite aunt and uncle, used to tell him about their world travels. “They were both school teachers and they would take every opportunity to go to the four corners of the earth,” recalled Roseman, of Houston. The couple, who lived in Cliff, New Mexico, traveled to all seven continents, visiting 140 countries. “I liked that they were interesting,” Roseman said. “They always had something interesting to say. My uncle could tell stories all day long.” But Ron never expected the story he would learn after they passed away. As executor of their estate, he received a phone call from the FBI just days after he sold off many of the items inside the Alters’ home. The items, including African artifacts, older furniture and some paintings were all sold to an antique dealer for $2,000. The FBI “assured me that I wasn’t in any trouble,” Roseman told WFAA. “And that they were inquiring about a painting that was found in my aunt’s house.” Roseman said he was aware of the 40-by-30-inch oil on canvas painting and recalled it hung behind his aunt’s bedroom door and was only visible when the door was closed. “[The FBI] told me that it was a painting stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art 32 years ago,” Roseman recalled. The FBI told him the stolen painting “was quite valuable,” Roseman continued. He later learned it may have an appraised value of more than $160 million. Hanging up the phone, Roseman said he felt “like a deer in the headlights.” “It’s my favorite aunt and uncle,” he recalled. “You know I couldn’t imagine… you know scenarios running through my head and where could they have possibly found this painting. The recovered painting is called Woman Ochre. It is an abstract expressionist work of a nude woman created by Willem de Kooning in the mid-1950s. Donated to the University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) in Tucson, Ariz., in 1958, the painting essentially became the “crown jewel” of the museum’s collection. Soon after the museum opened on the day after Thanksgiving in 1985, the masterpiece was stolen in a daring heist by a man and woman.

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Posted by on Nov 9 2017. Filed under National news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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