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Collection of Andy Warhol art stolen from Westside home

September 11, 2009 |  4:31 pm

Andy  A multimillion-dollar collection of original artwork by famed pop art icon Andy Warhol was stolen last week from a West Los Angeles home, according to police.

On Sept. 3, a housekeeper for noted art collector Richard L. Weisman walked into the dining room of Weisman’s residence on Angelo Drive and noticed several pieces were missing, said Det. Donald Hrycyk, head of the LAPD’s Art Theft detail.

A dozen large portraits that had adorned the walls the day before were gone. Hrycyk said there was no sign of forced entry into the home and that nothing else was disturbed, including several other Warhol paintings hanging on nearby walls. There were no immediate leads or suspects, Hrycyk said.

Weisman left the house a full day before the housekeeper discovered the art missing, leaving it unclear when exactly the theft occurred. 

A $1-million reward has been offered by an anonymous source for information leading to the recovery of the paintings. Weisman, who was friends with Warhol, commissioned the silk-screen paintings in the late 1970s – a time when Warhol produced hundreds of pieces of work for wealthy patrons able to pay the roughly $25,000 he charged for portraits. While not considered by collectors to be examples of Warhol’s best painting work, “The Athletes” series is well-known.

The total value of the work was not immediately known.

"I commissioned him to do this set of athletes because, generally speaking, the worlds of art and sports don't mesh that well," Weisman said in a recent interview with The Times.

Weisman, who could not be reached for comment, lent out the collection, which includes the likenesses of Dorothy Hamill, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali and Chris Evert, in the spring for a benefit exhibition that also featured the artwork of under-privileged children living in Watts.

--Joel Rubin

Photo: LAPD