Where is this $1,000 painting? Theft hits art show
Cynthia Thomas of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild was contacted by a Fall Art Festival patron this morning who claimed she saw “Kolrabi and Turnips,” the stolen $1,000 painting by Denver artist Linda Schneider, hanging during the festival’s opening reception around noon Sept. 23.
“She claims that she had admired [Schneider’s] work the year before, but it was already sold,” Thomas said in an email. “And so she looked up her work this year, and it was there; therefore, the people who said that they did not remember hanging it were wrong. It did get hung. This means it could be an artist [who stole it] or someone else who came to the opening reception.”
Thomas said according to the judging committee, the painting was not judged. Judging started early the next morning, Sept. 24, and it was not open to the public.
“This means it was probably taken on Tuesday between noon and 10 p.m., or possibly that night if they could somehow get past our security,” Thomas said.
An earlier version of the story appears below.
A painting by Denver artist Linda Schneider, priced at $1,000, was stolen during the registration process for the Glenwood Springs Art Guild’s Fall Art Festival in late September.
Because the painting was stolen during artist registration, which is closed to the public, the Art Guild’s Cynthia Thomas said the thief must have been another artist.
“And that’s what’s very upsetting,” she said.
During artist registration, identification cards are put on all paintings in the show. The painting was checked in but never hung. Toward the end of the festival, Schneider came to the show and noticed her painting was not hanging. She reported it missing to the Art Guild, and members realized it was never checked out, which happens when a painting is sold or when the artist takes it home after the show is over. They hoped the painting would be returned without having to involve the police, but on Oct. 20, they filed a report with the Glenwood Springs Police Department.
Chief Terry Wilson said the theft is a Class 1 misdemeanor with penalties ranging from six to 18 months in jail and/or $500 to $5,000 in fines.
Thomas described the painting, a 12-by-27-inch pastel piece called “Kolrabi and Turnips,” as a “beautiful still life.” The police report, filed by Art Guild Vice President Nancy Wilson, notes that the painting was in a black, ornate frame.
Thomas said the Fall Art Festival has suffered small thefts in the past but nothing of this scale. The Art Guild has security guards on duty during the festival, and even has someone stay overnight in the gallery. She said in the future organizers will have security during registration; they just never thought it would be an issue.
“There have been some petty things that have happened on occasion, but it was never anything like this, and definitely never by an artist,” Thomas said. “We have someone who actually sleeps there, so we have good security as far as the show goes.”
Thomas said at this point, the Art Guild is just hoping to locate the painting and return it to Schneider. She said the nonprofit cannot afford to reimburse the artist for her lost work, but guild members also feel a responsibility to Schneider, despite the fact that all artists sign a waiver saying the Art Guild is not responsible for lost or stolen work.
“We’re a nonprofit, and we’re close to the edge,” Thomas said. “That would be a huge burden for us. We’re outraged that an artist would do that to another artist and that they would do that to a nonprofit. It’s hard to wrap our heads around it. How could you enjoy a beautiful painting like that knowing you stole it?”
Anyone with information about the stolen painting should call the Glenwood Springs Police Department at 970-384-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 970-945-0101.
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