A theft of Andy Warhol art in Los Angeles has also stolen a chance to see the iconic artist’s work at Shoreline Community College.
“We were well on our way to hosting this wonderful show, but heightened security concerns and costs just make it impossible for the college at this time,” Norma Goldstein, Dean of Humanities at Shoreline, said.
The show scheduled for Oct. 26-30 at SCC was to have included 11 portraits by Warhol, 10 of famous athletes from the ‘70s, and one of the man who commissioned and owned the works, Richard Weisman of Seattle. In an unusual coincidence, the art stolen Sept. 11, 2009 in California was also owned by Weisman, taken from a home he owns in Los Angeles.
Not only was the owner the same, the art was same, too.
Perhaps the best-known name in pop art, Warhol often created more than one original of the same work. In this case, the series included multiple sets of silkscreen portraits including Muhammad Ali, Chris Evert, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dorothy Hamill and former football star turned "Trial of the Century" defendant O.J. Simpson. A media report from 1988 indicates that the September theft in LA isn’t the first for the collection, saying 18 were reported missing that year from a New York warehouse. Most were recovered by Weisman and family members, the report says.
Weisman had insured the set in LA for $25 million and in 2007, he put up for sale a complete set of "The Athletes" for $28 million through Martin Summers Fine Art Ltd., according to Mark Durney of www.arttheftcentral.blogspot.com. An unidentified person has offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the return to the works stolen in LA.
“Richard generously offered ‘The Athletes’ to show at the college,” Goldstein said. “However, as the college was working with the insurance company, it became apparent that the extra security measures required at this time were just too expensive. Richard has become a good friend of the college. He has offered to share his experience as an art collector and patron with our students and we’re very pleased to be able make that happen.”
A collector of fine art and observer of the art world since the ‘60s, Weisman was born to the role. His mother, Marcia Weisman, was one of the founders of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. His uncle, Norton Simon, built the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif. Weisman also wrote a book, “Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection,” and available at http://picassotopop.com.