Discovering The de Kooning: A WFAA documentary

2018, Mystery  -  22 min Leave a Comment
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Ron Roseman was almost done liquidating his late aunt's estate last summer when the phone rang, it was from the FBI. The agent was curious to know where his aunt, Rita Alter, got the painting that was hung behind her bedroom door. Roseman had seen the abstract expressionist painting that the agent was inquiring about yet he had no clue about where his aunt got it from!

To this Roseman asked the agent Why? The FBI agent replied because this painting was stolen from a museum 32 years ago and is valued at $160-million! That's where the mystery begins for the biggest US art theft ever that remained unsolved for years!

The oil painting was popularly known as Woman-Ochre by Willem de Kooning was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art in 1985. The well-planned crime took place in just 15 minutes, where a woman distracted the museum security guard while a man on the second-floor gallery used a blade to cut Woman-Ochre from its frame. Quickly he rolled it up and ran down the museum stairs as the two thieves quickly sped off in a two-door rust-coloured car that was the only clue the investigators had.

The stolen masterpiece with a valuation of more than $160-million would have never been found if it weren't for a customer who was familiar with art history and abstract expressionism at that antique dealer's consignment shop immediately recognized the painting and requested the store owners to research it. Was the painting found? And who was Jerry and Rita Alter? And did they steal the painting for their viewing pleasure? The documentary has all the answers so gear up for a mysterious ride in the journey of finding the stolen painting!