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Forty Years Later

 

We all have an idea of how it feels like to lose, especially losing something you treasure; it hurts so much and the only thing one does is to hope you find it. It hurts even more when it was something that you created; something that you worked so hard for then just like that it goes missing. The irony of losing something is that, normally the missing happens in the blink of an eye; faster than how long it took to actually create it.

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

Our eyes never mind to have a glance at a beautiful artwork but for those who are not artists, do you ever wonder how long it takes to create different pieces, be it a painting, sculpture, drawing pottery among many others? Some artworks take more than a day, a week and in some cases an year to create. For instance the “Mona Lisa” Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci took him roughly 14 to 15 years to have it finished. It took quite long to create a portrait but it ended up being the greatest portrait ever.  This means that time is of essence if you want to create a magnificent piece. Artists sacrifice most of their time especially if they want the piece ready as soon as possible. To then think that you can lose your artwork after putting in so much effort and time is an unimaginable thought.

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Robert Motherwell, an American artist of the 20th century had to deal with the pain of losing his work.  Robert (who passed on in 1991) was a painter, printmaker and also an editor. He lost some of his work in 1978 while he was switching storage companies and employed Santini moving company to transport his paintings; somewhere along the way, dozens of his work went missing. Efforts to locate his work were in vain since he died without being able to find them.

Photo Courtesy of Eileen Kinsella

40 years down the line, if Robert was alive, he would have all the reasons in this world to smile: one of the pieces that went missing was found. Manhattan District Attorney hosted a ceremony in New York to announce the recovery of an untitled abstract painting that was among those that were stolen. The red and black abstract painting that was recovered had been created by Robert in 1967. It was recovered after a son of an employee of the moving company took it to the Dedalus Foundation hoping to have it authenticated to ascertain that it is indeed the piece that was lost. Jack Ham, President and CEO of the foundation matched the work with images and other records documenting the stolen work and ascertained that it is the one.

Photo Courtesy of Eileen Kinsella

The piece will be stored in the headquarters of the Dedalus Foundation which was established in 1991 to promote his artwork and legacy.It is likely to be worth millions given recent sales of comparable works by Motherwell. To date more than 30 works by Robert have sold for more than $1 million at auction. Hopefully, the missing pieces will be found in good condition and his legacy will be enjoyed by his fans and upcoming artists as well.

About Esther Wambui

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