Last week several important pieces of blue chip art valued at over 10 million dollars were stolen from a house in Santa Monica California. The collection belonged to Jeffrey Gundlach, the Chief Executive Officer of Doubleline Capital LP. Three major pieces including paintings by Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly and a Piet Mondrian were taken along with a Porsche, several watches and other valuables.
The case has prompted Gundlach to launch a public appeal in the hope of finding the art, and at the very least obtaining clues as to how the burglary managed to occur, in such a protected, secure premises. Given the economic strain felt by many people around the world, this may be the solution to ones negative bank account, as Mr. Gundlach has offered a very handsome reward of $1.7 million for information leading to the return of the property stolen. With economies the world over tanking, there is still money to be made through solid and reliable information. Mr Gundlach made the announcement public on Tuesday, an admirable attempt at retrieving the works, created by some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. These paintings have an aesthetic value to the collector, far beyond the monetary, investment or market price. Which is why the reward is so substancial.
Amongst the pieces stolen was a work created by Piet Mondrian. This was the centrepiece of Mr. Gundlach’s collection. He told an American newspaper that he fell in love with Mondrian after a visit to the Tate Gallery in London, a number of years ago. Mondrian was a Dutch painter who shaped the face of modern painting by contributing work to the ‘De Stijl’ movement which translates to “The Style”. Founded by Theo van Doesburg in 1917. The work had a large impact on the art movement known as neo-plasticism. The style created by Mondrian is largely non-representational and consists of a white background upon which the subject is modified and reduced to create a grid of black vertical and horizontal lines, placed with the use of primary colours. Another important painting in the collection was by the American painter and printmaker Jasper Johns. Johns is best known for his works depicting the American flag, in Pop Art brilliance. Other works taken were created by the sculptor Joseph Cornell who is often classified as a neo-Dadaist. His work includes the use of contradiction, paradox, inspired by surrealism, which he contrasts with the strict rigidness of constructivism and Cy Twombly an American abstract painter, who died last year.
The works will be very difficult to sell on the open market as they have all been reported to the Art Loss Register for stolen works of art. They will undoubtedly resurface, hopefully in the condition they were taken.
Words by: Portia Pettersen Copyright Artlyst 2012