Stolen Rembrandt Unlocks New Mystery

Miriam Correia

When the Rembrandt that was stolen from the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del-Ray was recovered, it should have been an open and shut case, but instead it turned into another mystery.  According to the Huffington Post, “They have to show us something to prove that they own it, and they haven’t been able to do that,” said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He said authorities are keeping the alleged Rembrandt under lock and key until the ownership issue is resolved.”

Officials at the Linearis Institute, who claim to own the Rembrandt, titled, “The Judgment,” are not answering phone calls or email messages. But their lawyer, William Klein, says that they did buy the drawing from a legitimate seller, they just don’t want to say who that is.  “Things like that really are trade secrets,” Klein told The Associated Press. “We don’t believe we need to reveal trade secrets to get back what is ours.”

 What’s also suspicious is that Linearis does not intend to prosecute the people who stole the drawing but the Sheriff’s department is still investigating.  The Huffington Post reports, “What is unusual,” Amore continued, “is that the institute didn’t immediately come forward with documents to get its painting back. He compared it to someone having a high-end car like a Ferrari stolen and, after police recover it, not immediately producing the ownership documents to reclaim it.”  Klein says that Linearis main goal is to get the drawing back as soon as possible; if this does not happen they will be taking the Sheriff department to court.

The Huffington Post also reports that there is no paperwork verifying that the drawing is a Rembrandt and art appraisers and other experts say that they cannot find “The Judgment” in any catalogs chronicling all of his works.

Other art experts say that it would be “…difficult but not impossible…” to confirm if this drawing is actually a Rembrandt.  “For years,” he noted, “Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait” with Gorget,” which hangs in the Germanisches National museum in Nuremberg, was thought to be a copy of the artist’s work that had been done by a friend. Then, in the 1990s, further study of documents and the painting revealed it was the real deal.”

This new mystery has the art world buzzing, but hopefully this story will come to a close soon.