500th POST Ovation: Lichtenstein’s 1961 Creation, “Electric Cord”, Resurfaces And Is Worth Millions.
I’ve always wanted to live in a grand old house … one with an attic so large that I could stand in it without bumping my head. A really old home with a lot of history. I watch shows like If These Walls Could Talk or Bath Crashers where people often discover things hidden in the walls of their homes and I wonder how that would make me feel. Earlier this summer, a Missouri homeowner discovered a stash of prohibition era brandy under the floorboards of his attic. The thirteen bottles of booze was worth a fortune.
Other times I wonder, when I’ve misplaced something, if it will reveal itself in the future to delight and amuse someone who comes along after I’m long gone. Then again, I try really hard to keep up with my “stuff” … much unlike the Castelli Gallery in New York City.
In 1970, the gallery sent a painting, Roy Lichtenstein’s Electric Cord (pictured), for cleaning. The painting, created in 1961 and depicting a simple coiled cord in black and white on a twenty-eight inch by eighteen inch canvas, had been purchase by Leo Castelli for his collection. Works by Lichtenstein, a pioneer in pop art who died at age 73 in 1997, have seen their values escalate. Apparently, Electric Cord’s purchase price of approximately $750 wasn’t enough to worry about and the painting was quickly forgotten.
When Castelli died in 2007, his widow who inherited the art gallery listed Electric Cord with a registry of missing and stolen artwork. Then, recently, it was learned that an art dealer had contacted the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation seeking assistance in authenticating Electric Cord, which was sitting at an Upper East Side Manhattan storage facility. Court records show that the painting had been shipped from a gallery in Bogata, Columbia.
A judge this week issued a temporary restraining order barring the painting from being removed from the warehouse until rightful ownership can be determined. Castelli’s attorneys argue that, based on recent sales of Lichtenstein’s work, the painting is currently worth more than four million dollars!
Perhaps it’s time for me to start looking under floorboards or in back rooms of warehouses. I lose my keys once in a while and I forget where I put my cell phone several times every day but I’ve never lost thirteen bottles of whiskey or a huge painting. However, if I have misplaced something and forgotten about it I really hope someone in the future enjoys finding an incredibly valuable piece of history.
Have you ever found anything valuable from the past?
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