SALIBSURY, CT – 31 DECEMBER 2015: In the summer of 2015, Le Sacré Coeur au Printemps by Maxime Emile Louis Maufra was stolen from a home in Salisbury, Connecticut. Within months, the painting was discovered being offered for sale at Fairfield Auction, just 65 miles away.
Whilst the painting is not considered a major masterpiece, it holds a great deal of sentimental value to the Drew family, based between Salisbury, CT and York, England. Sisters Bettina and Allison Drew had previously inherited the painting from their father with the request that they find a way to share it.
When offered for sale at Fairfield Auction, Le Sacré Coeur au Printemps attracted considerable interest and was eventually bought by a private individual based in France. The painting was days from being shipped outside of the United States when Jack Destories, owner of Fairfield Auction, agreed to halt the sale pending further investigation.
The Drew family contacted Art Recovery Group (“ARG”), UK-based art recovery specialists, to liaise with law enforcement, the auction house, and the possessor who claimed to have acquired the painting at a swap shop located on the premises of the Salisbury Waste Transfer Station.
Within just four weeks, ARG negotiated an unconditional release of the painting to the Drew family who took possession just in time for the holidays.
Alison Drew commented:
“Just one day after reporting the theft of our Maufra painting to the Connecticut State Police, I discovered it on the Fairfield Auction web site. After several weeks at an impasse, I had almost given up hope. Then I contacted Art Recovery Group. Chris Marinello and his team worked a miracle and negotiated the safe return of our painting.”
This recovery marks a record year for the London-based Art Recovery Group who have overseen the successful recovery of over $75 million in stolen and claimed works of art over the last 12 months.
Art Recovery Group is grateful for the cooperation of Fairfield Auctions and the possessor in resolving this matter amicably.