Missing Lichtenstein painting turns up in New York

Thu Aug 2, 2012 12:20pm EDT
 
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By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Roy Lichtenstein painting missing since 1970 has surfaced at a New York City warehouse, and a judge this week ordered that it stay put until rightful ownership can be determined, according to court documents.

Lichtenstein in 1961 created "Electric Cord," which depicts a coiled cord in black and white on a 28 inch by 18 inch (71 cm by 46 cm) canvas. It was purchased for $750 in the 1960s by art collector Leo Castelli, but disappeared in 1970 after the Castelli gallery sent it out for cleaning.

In 2007, Barbara Castelli, who inherited the art gallery when her husband Leo died in 1999, listed "Electric Cord" with a registry of missing and stolen artwork.

Castelli learned last week that an art dealer named James Goodman had contacted the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation seeking assistance authenticating "Electric Cord," which was sitting at a storage facility on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The painting had been shipped from a gallery in Bogota, Colombia, court records show.

Attorneys for Castelli contend that the painting is currently worth $4 million. New York State Judge Peter Sherwood issued on Tuesday a temporary restraining order, barring the painting from being removed from the warehouse.

Lichtenstein was a pioneer in pop art who died at age 73 in 1997. In May, one of Lichtenstein's works, titled "Sleeping Girl," sold at the auction house Sotheby's for $44.8 million.

(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Will Dunham)

 
A 1961 painting by Roy Lichtenstein named "Electric Cord" is seen in this handout from the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, received by Reuters August 1, 2012. The painting which depicts a coiled cord in black and white on canvas, lost more than 40 years ago, has resurfaced in a warehouse in New York's Upper East Side. A court in New York has ordered a temporary freeze on any sale of "Electric Cord." A hearing is set for Monday to determine the painting's fate. REUTERS/Estate of Roy Lichtenstein Courtesy of Art Loss Registry/Handout