LOW REWARD FOR SAVING $1M ART !!
New York Post
November 22, 2007 -- An Upper East Side woman who found a stolen masterpiece painting in a pile of garbage four years ago was stunned to see it sell for more than $1 million at a Sotheby's auction.
But Elizabeth Gibson won't be seeing much of that money, since the original owner decided to give her a measly $15,000 reward.
"I basically gave her a million dollars," she said.
Gibson found the painting - "Tres Personajes," by Mexican abstract artist Rufino Tamayo - in 2003 as she was passing a Dumpster near her home.
She immediately could tell it was no ordinary trash.
"I took it because it has a supernatural power," she said yesterday. "There was a mystery to it from the moment I saw it to when the hammer went down."
After she took it home, she struggled to find out who created the work and who owned it.
After four years of probing the painting's origins - including fruitless contact with lawyers, insurance adjusters and art experts - Gibson finally found her way to the Web site for the PBS program "Antiques Roadshow." There, she discovered that the splotchy red, purple and yellow picture was stolen in 1989.
Gibson later took the painting to the Sotheby's auction house, which discovered the owner was a Houston woman - and that the painting was stolen from storage.
The owner's husband coincidentally bought it from a Sotheby's auction in 1977.
Back then, it sold for $55,000 - and when it vanished, the woman put up a $15,000 reward.
Gibson said that when she got the painting back to the woman through contacts at Sotheby's, she hoped the owner would up the reward a bit, considering two decades of inflation and the fact that experts expected it to sell for between $750,000 and $1 million.
But the woman - who has not been identified - wouldn't budge, Gibson said.
"People tried to get her to give me more," she said. "But she wasn't interested."
The painting beat expectations and sold for $1,049,000 in the Latin American art auction Tuesday.
The owner wouldn't give her a percentage of the sale. Gibson said that Sotheby's felt so bad for her after all her work that it gave her an undisclosed percentage of the sale commission.
Nevertheless, Gibson said she had no regrets.
"In the end I feel very blessed," she said. "This is the best Thanksgiving ever."
Now, to much more pleasant things.
On this Thanksgiving day I would like to make a personal plea to those who control the stolen Gardner Art, Vermeer especially.
A trip to the local Catholic Church to make confession, whilst leaving the Gardner art in the confession box, will almost certainly result in the full, I repeat full payment of the current $5 million dollar reward offered by the Honourable Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston.
It may even result in a payment of $10 million, as the Gardner Museum is considering the Art Hostage plan to double the reward.
Remember, the person claiming the reward must, I repeat must, stand up to Public and Law Enforcement scrutiny, be it in Boston, Bulgaria or Bantry Bay.
Therefore, the only person to defiantly tick all of the boxes is a Catholic Priest or Bishop, who can claim the reward without revealing the identity of who returned the stolen Gardner artworks via the confession box.
The power of the confession allows the Priest to do this in an honourable manner, and in any case, it is not murder, violence or drugs, it is iconic artworks that will be displayed for everyone to enjoy.
So, this Thanksgiving Day, say a Hail Mary, pass the Gardner Art to the Catholic Priest or Bishop, and collect the reward from the Priest/Bishop.
One last thing, make sure the person handing the Gardner art back, via a Confession Box, has not had anything to do with the original theft or the subsequent handling, got it !!
Thanksgiving memo to Whitey Bulger:
"Jimmy B, if you want to hand yourself in, do it with a Catholic priest or Bishop, why, well they can claim the $1 million reward bounty without any objections from the Media, Public or Law Enforcement.
If you want to make sure you are not assassinated, take refuge in a Catholic Church, then let the worlds Media descend upon your location, then request the Justice Department take you into custody.
Hope you have kept your diaries safe, especially as they give every detail of your career.
Lunch, sorry Jimmy B, it's far too hot, and I don't mean the weather !!
Ssh, they think I'm joking !!