Police Recover a Painting by Dali Stolen in 2002

Salvador Dali - Persistence of MemoryA painting by Salvador Dali is now in a safe place. The Guardia Civil agents found the artwork in Spain while searching for private property in Valdemoro, Madrid. The painting was stolen in 2002 from a chalet in Adanero. The thieves also stole two portraits by Sorolla and Condé Delgrás, a floral painting by Rosen Roses, a 16th-century portrait by Hernán Cortés, and two charcoal drawings by Gustavo Doré and Nicanor Piñole.

The works were estimated at 4 million euros. According to a statement by the police in Avila, the investigation was opened in 2002 when a couple reported a burglary in their home in Adanero. This led to the beginning of Operation “Alejandro” which included a thorough forensics examination of the scene of the crime. The investigation led to the incarceration of the thieves.

Four people were arrested, all originally from Madrid and living in Valdemoro. The modus operandi used by the thieves made the investigators focus on the victim’s immediate social circle. Although initially, they did not get any conclusive data, a fingerprint comparison in June finally allowed them to confirm the four people who have been arrested as the conductors of the crime.

Pablo Picasso holds the top spot for most stolen artworks. However, this has not made Dalí’s paintings go unnoticed by thieves. On February 24, 2006, the paintings “Man of Sickly Complexion Listening to the Sound of the Sea” by Salvador Dalí, “The Dance” by Pablo Picasso, “Luxembourg Gardens” by Henri Matisse, and “Marine” by Claude Monet were stolen from the Museu da Chácara do Céu in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The thieves took advantage of a carnival parade passing by the museum and disappeared into the crowd. The paintings haven’t been recovered yet. Furthermore, in 2009, masked gunmen stole two paintings from a Dutch museum. The two stolen paintings were “Adolescence,” a 1941 gouache by Dali, and “LaMuscienne,” an oil painting from 1929 by Polish-born Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka. Several robbers threatened a guard at the Scheringa Museum for Realism in Spanbroek with a gun before making off with the artworks. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

Dali may not have been the most stolen artist, but his paintings are expensive. Over the past years, the average price paid at auction for a Dali painting has risen from $120,000 to over $1 million, according to Art Research Technologies. However, two of Dali’s paintings have been bought for much more. “Honey is Sweeter than Blood”, made in 1941, has been estimated to $4.8 million. A collector has it now for more than $6.7 million. Nevertheless, “Portrait of Paul Eluard” has the record for the most expensive Dali painting. Estimated at $8 million, was bought in February 2011 for over $21 million, a record for a Surrealist artwork.

Although Dali has expensive prices. He does not exceed Picasso. The relatively low prices for Dali’s paintings, compared to Picasso’s “Garçon à la pipe”, sold for $100 million, shouldn’t be so surprising. The specialists explained that it wasn’t really until the last few decades that the Surrealists became accepted and appreciated by the establishment.

About the Author

"In order to learn to draw you must learn to see" is the quote that inspired me to seek beauty in life, not only in art. I also may say that life is the best theme in art. I let drawing be only a hobby for me so I would never lose my passion by turning it into an every-day job. That is why I decided to write about art. Cristiana Dumitru lives in Bucharest, Romania, besides art she is also a news presenter on Radio ZU, the national Romanian radio.