Thursday, May 13, 2010

Original Art Stories: Stolen Art, Buyer Beware

I really hate doing this, but it's always best to get these things out into the open as the market for original art is incredible, and there are those who really don't care where the art comes from. Thus it's always a good idea to identify stolen art where possible, that way if it's sighted at a show, or on sale on-line, then it can be tracked back to the rightful owner.

The first image here isn't actually of the stolen art, more an approximation. Long time art collector, and Ross Andru fan Chris Wozniak, contacted me about my Andru Spider-Man pencil sketch as he believed it might be stolen art. Once we established that it wasn't - my sketch was done in the 1970s and Chris's was done in the early 1990s for one thing and the paper description is wrong (mine is on art board, not typing paper).  Chris then told me the story of what the art was and how to identify it. Here's what Chris has posted on his Facebook page.

"MISSING DRAWING: This Mike Esposito inked Ross Andru drawing (owned by Dan Best) greatly resembles the one stolen from me. WHAT YOU SEE POSTED IS NOT THE ACTUAL MISSING DRAWING. I have already confirmed that with Dan, but mine is EXTREMELY similar. The one I am looking for is the last drawing Ross Andru ever did in his life, so it has a lot of sentimental value to me. The drawing is in PENCIL on standard typing paper and has "Chris, good luck in your comics career. Best Wishes, Ross Andru." and may be dated Nov '93. When last seen it was in a black wooden frame. If anyone ever notices a drawing like this on the market I would greatly appreciate a heads up."

If you know where the pencil sketch is then contact Chris via Facebook, or drop me a line and I'll hook you up.

The second art is better known.  Drawn by Gene Colan, the art reportedly went missing when Gene was recently taken to hospital.  The alleged thief has been named, but as I believe that a police investigation might be pending, I won't name names here.  Suffice to say that if you see the Colan Star Wars piece for sale, or are offered it, or just see it anywhere, then let Gene, via Clifford Meth, know the details or drop me an email.  Gene would greatly appreciate it's return, and not just for the monetry vale of the art.   No questions asked in either case, just the safe return of both items would be enough.

It's time that collectors stopped dealing in stolen art and faced up to reality.  Nothing is worth having if it can't be displayed in public and frankly if it's stolen, and worse than that, if you KNOW it's stolen, then the right thing to do, both morally and lawfully, is to return the art.  Generally the owners won't press charges if the art comes back safely, so if you have either item then do the right thing and just give it back.

After all, if it's stolen then it's not your art, is it?

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