A painting by de Kooning will be on display for the first time since the 1985 Arizona Heist

PHOENIX — A Los Angeles museum has repaired a prized painting by Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning and will soon put it on display for the first time since it was stolen from the University of Arizona Art Museum there is almost 40 years old.

“Woman-Ocher” will be the focus of the Getty Museum’s exhibit titled “Conserving de Kooning: Theft and Recovery” from June 7 to August 28.

The mid-1950s oil on canvas was cut from its frame and stolen from UAMA on November 29, 1985.

It appeared at an estate sale in the small western New Mexico town of Cliff in August 2017 and was purchased along with other items by an antique dealer, who was unaware of the origin of the painting.

The dealer sought it out after being warned by customers and returned it to the Tucson Museum, which originally received it as a donation in 1958.

No one has ever been arrested for the theft.

UAMA officials turned to experts from the Getty Museum to repair the damaged artwork.

“The painting came to us in very poor condition. The brutal manner in which it was ripped from its liner caused severe peeling and tearing of the paint, not to mention damage from the blade that was used to slice it from its frame,” said Ulrich Birkmaier, senior curator of the paintings from the Getty, to the press. Release.

“To bring a painting from such a dire state to a place where it can now be safely displayed is a huge achievement.”

“Woman-Ocher” will return to Tucson after the Getty exhibit and is scheduled to be exhibited at UAMA from October 8 of this year through May 20, 2023.

“‘Woman-Ocher’ is a crown jewel of the University of Arizona Museum of Art’s collection, and we look forward to seeing it back in our galleries this fall,” said Andrew Schulz, vice-president president of the school for the arts. said in the press release.

“In the meantime, we look forward to the upcoming Getty exhibition and the opportunity to share this extraordinary work – and its equally extraordinary story – with a wide audience.”

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