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Norman Rockwell painting missing from Queens storage facility recovered in Ohio

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A valuable Norman Rockwell painting that disappeared from a Maspeth storage facility last year has been recovered, police said.

The piece, entitled “Sport,” went missing from Grand Avenue’s WelPak Art Moving and Storage on Sept. 13. Painted in 1939, it was signed by the artist and was used as a Saturday Evening Post cover.

In May, the stolen oil painting was sold from a private collector for $1,085,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, according to published reports.

Jean Gardner, a lawyer representing WelPak, told the Wall Street Journal that a private investigator recovered the painting in Ohio and that it was reportedly found undamaged. She also said no one has been charged in connection to its disappearance.



Norman Rockwell painting stolen in Maspeth

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Wednesday, October 8 4:38 p.m.

Police are asking for your help in finding a $1 million Norman Rockwell painting that was stolen in Maspeth last month.

The painting was discovered missing from Grand Avenue’s Welpak Art Moving and Storage on September 13, said cops.

Entitled “Sport,” the painting is approximately 22X28 inches and is oil paint on canvass. It was housed in a wooden frame which is gold in color, and depicts a man in a row boat wearing a yellow rain jacket, holding a fishing pole.

It was painted in 1939 and is signed by Norman Rockwell on the lower right and was used as the Saturday Evening Post cover.

According to WelPak’s website, the company offers fine art shipping and climate-controlled services, including artwork and antique storage, and has experience working with museums, art galleries, foundations, private collectors and art dealers.

It advertises storage facilities that are “alarmed to ensure maximum protection and safety.”
A person who answered the phone at WelPak said “this is an ongoing investigation and we are not allowed to discuss [the missing painting] with anyone.”

“It’s very common for a work of high value to be put in storage to keep it from being damaged,” said Danielle Rahm, director at New York Fine Art Appraisers, one of the leading independent appraisers of the fine and decorative arts in the country.

There would be no reason to not rely on a fine art storage facility as a safe way to keep the painting, she said.

The stolen painting was sold from a private collector for $1,085,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York this May, according to published reports.

“It would be very difficult to resell it at a known public auction,” said Rahm.

Once a painting is stolen, it is typically registered with the Art Loss Register, she said. This database of stolen art provides information that can be checked if someone tries to consign a work.

But, said Rahm, “there’s always a black market” for stolen art work.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.