Thief Caught After Nabbing Franz Kline Painting from Chelsea Gallery

06/01/2011 1:57 PM |

The late Franz Kline, unfazed by theft.

  • The late Franz Kline, unfazed by theft.

It’s been a while since New York City’s last high-profile art theft case, but this one looks like an open and shut case: On the afternoon of May 12th Calvin Gonzalez walked into Marianne Boesky Gallery‘s Chelsea location, perused the Salvatore Scarpitta exhibition for about 20 minutes, stuffed Ab-Ex painter Franz Kline’s “Black Ink” (estimated value $225,000) into a bag and walked out. Gallery staff didn’t notice anything, but gallery cameras did.

The Post reports that Gonzalez was caught on gallery surveillance footage taking the Kline painting off the wall and putting it in a bag. After gallery staff noticed the theft they alerted police, and detectives identified the thief from the security camera footage.

Gonzalez was arrested on Saturday and charged with felony grand larceny. He’s being held without bail at Riker’s Island. The Post doesn’t mention the painting’s whereabouts, so presumably it has yet to be recovered.

Kline, who kept a studio ten blocks away on West 14th Street until his death in 1962 at 51, was a friend of Scarpitta’s, and his work was included in the exhibition along with other contemporaries like Robert Rauschenberg and students like Jeff Koons and Martin Puryear. The show continues, Kline-less, through June 18.