Works by Warhol, Pollock Stolen from Pennsylvania Museum

An oil painting by Jackson Pollock and a silkscreen by Andy Warhol were stolen from a museum by thieves who shattered a glass door in the back of the building, officials said.

The Pollock was likely worth about $11.6 million and the Warhol had a value of about $15,000, experts said.

The thieves had disappeared from the Everhart Museum by the time police arrived - four minutes after the alarm sounded at 2:30 a.m. Friday. Surveillance cameras were not working, officials said.

The stolen Pollock oil-on-canvas painting, "Springs Winter," measures 40 inches by 32 inches and was created in 1949 by the famed abstract expressionist. It was on loan to the Everhart Museum from a private collector. The museum declined to identify the lender.

The stolen Warhol, "Le Grande Passion," is a 40-by-40 inch silkscreen on board. The pop art icon created the work in 1984 on commission for an ad campaign for Grand Passion cognac. It was owned by the museum.

Authorities and museum officials said they were unsure of the actual value of the paintings, which were taken from the museum's second floor exhibition hall.

But Helen Harrison, director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, N.Y., said the Pollock's value was comparable to a similar painting that sold at auction for $11.6 million in May 2004. Art dealer Pierette VanCleve said the Warhol piece would have an auction value of about $15,000.

The thieves appeared to have been aided by a large tent covering the museum's back entrance for an event, investigators said. Officials said they had no immediate leads.

The museum did not say why the surveillance cameras were not working. Wilbur Faulk, former security director at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, said the problem was not unusual.

"It takes money to maintain systems, whether it's a computer system or an alarm system," he said. "If we traveled around the United States, we would be surprised at how many places this is the case."

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On the Net:

Everhart Museum: http://www.everhart-museum.org


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