Found stolen paintings by Hans Hoffman
The stolen paintings by master of abstract expressionism Hans Hoffman (1880-1966) were found by Art Recovery International 12 years after they were stolen from an art store in Manhattan.
Five paintings, valued at just over $ 500,000, were last seen at the Cirkers Hayes warehouse in 2003. The works belonged to a foundation known as the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust. (Cirkers Hayes joined Crozier Fine Arts in early 2017).
According to Art Recovery, the theft was the inner work of Cirkers’ longtime caretaker, John Rett, who “used the vault as his personal shopping center” and sold paintings and sculptures through auction houses, galleries and art dealers around the world.
This is not the first time that a caretaker has been associated with stolen art. According to information from Art Recovery International, Rhett was arrested by the New York City Police Department in 2004 when he tried to sell several sculptures at Christie’s in London, as well as in a gallery in New York. The sculptures were returned to Cirkers, and the police closed the criminal case without a search of the residence of Rett, who got off with a light sentence – 10 days in prison.
As for the works of Hoffmann, one of the works of the artist led to the discovery of others. In 2016, the picture was sent for sale at Heritage Auctions New York, but it was not sold. Then the same work was transferred to the Swann gallery in 2017, where it was found Art Recovery.
After further investigation, Art Recovery Bureau came to the shipper, a merchant from New York, and found four more stolen works by Hoffmann. According to the agency, the sixth work of the artist is still missing.
“I’ve seen it all before,” said Christopher Marinello, general director of Art Recovery International, in a statement. “Thieves use the so-called legal distribution network for stolen works of art.” The art detective says that he still sees the reluctance of merchants to “pay the cost of due diligence because of the fear of losing profits.”
So far, there is no information about Rett’s current whereabouts or whether he was charged or arrested for theft.
To date, the Hoffman record at auctions is $ 8.9 million. More than 25 works by the artist are sold for more than $ 1 million each, according to the Artnet database.