Facebook help in stolen art mystery may lead to more trouble
Tracking down lost painting through social media may have unintended consequences, says curator
A group of outdoor enthusiasts has turned its sights to recovering Spring on the Onaping River, a lost painting by Canadian artist A.Y. Jackson, and hopes its Facebook page shakes loose some clues.
Melissa Sheridan, who speaks for a group representing Sudbury's Kivi Park, said the missing work is "too important to just be a lost treasure."
Spring on the Onaping River went missing from Sudbury Secondary School shortly after Jackson's death in 1974.
Demetra Christakos of the Art Gallery of Sudbury said discussions about art theft makes other work vulnerable to copycats.
"When we have this conversation we become quite vigilant and concerned for our own works, for works that others have in their home and for other works that are on public display," Christakos said, "the DEFCON level goes from three to five because security of the work is very important."
And a high-security gallery doesn't always contribute to the viewer's experience.
The Art Gallery of Sudbury has some of its own Jackson works, which Christakos said are "mostly sketches."
Spring on the Onaping River's value is difficult to estimate, but Christakos said at the time of its theft, the painting was worth $15,000.
Of course, the value of the painting is moot, if the artwork is never recovered. And Christakos said finding lost artwork is far from easy.
And despite the Kivi Park group's vigilance in tracking Jackson's work down, Christakos is trying to keep her expectations in check.
"The statistic for art recovery is about 15 per cent," Christakos said, "it's not that common. Of course you want to hope for the best and you'd love to see works return to their home but that's the rate of recovery."
With files from Angela Gemmill