NEW YORK – A Henry Moore bronze sculpture stolen from a New York City gallery in 2001 has been recovered from a Toronto gallery.
The $80,000 abstract sculpture of a reclining figure was located at Miriam Shiell Fine Art. The gallery’s owner said the consignor brought it into the gallery claiming it was a gift from his grandmother. Shiell wisely searched the FBI and private stolen art databases which resulted in a confirmed match.
“When a piece doesn’t have any history, anything that is verifiable, you need to do due diligence,” said Shiell, who has owned the gallery for 30 years.
The abstract Moore sculpture titled “Three Piece Reclining Figure: Maquette No. 4” (1975) was reported stolen in November 2001 by the James Goodman Gallery. The bronze piece is about 7 inches (17.8 centimetres) by 3 inches (7.6 centimetres) by 3 inches, a model of a larger sculpture.
Christopher A. Marinello, a lawyer working on behalf of the private database and the Goodman Gallery’s insurer, handled the negotiations with the consignor.
“The consignor’s story was a bit of a stretch. As it turned out, there was no sweet old grandmother. With the help of the NYPD’s Detective Mark Fishstein and Canadian law enforcement, we were able to identify a number of local mafia capos and their offspring who concocted the false grandma provenance”.
The consignor eventually relented and released the sculpture to Marinello’s clients.