Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Collector of stolen Andy Warhol paintings waives insurance policy

October 15, 2009 |  6:46 pm


The owner of a multimillion-dollar collection of artwork allegedly stolen last month has unexpectedly waived the insurance policy he owns to protect the paintings, Los Angeles police detectives confirmed today.

The art world was abuzz in early September with word that a series of original work by famed Pop Art icon Andy Warhol had been heisted from the walls of noted art collector Richard L. Weisman’s Westside home.

In all, 11 brightly colored silk-screen paintings were gone — 10 are portraits of famous athletes and one is of Weisman, 69, who was friends with Warhol and commissioned the series in the late 1970s.

Each piece was estimated by some experts to be worth at least $1 million.

Dets. Donald Hrycyk and Mark Sommer, who make up the LAPD’s art theft detail, had few leads to follow. There was no sign of forced entry and no substantial witness accounts. And, oddly, other valuable pieces of art in the home had been left untouched. 

Now, Weisman has said he is not going to pursue a payout from the company that insured the paintings. 

“It is curious,” Sommer said in a deadpan voice. “We’d like to talk to him about it.”

Sommer said it has been difficult to track down Weisman.

The detective added that there are no suspects.

News of the canceled policy was first reported by the Seattle Times, which said Weisman stood to recoup $25 million for the art and quoted Weisman as saying that he’d rather give up the money than go through the hassle of the insurance company’s investigation into the theft.

Weisman did not return calls seeking comment Thursday evening.

A spokesperson for Chartis Insurance, the company that reportedly covered the work, declined to comment.

--Joel Rubin

Photo: LAPD