Attempted theft from Warhol exhibit at MAG reported

Feb 1, 2021

Season of Warhol, a collection of the late artist’s work, runs through March 28 at the Memorial Art Gallery.
Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News file photo

An attempt was made to steal a piece from the Andy Warhol exhibit at Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery on Sunday, but it was soon recovered.

The museum’s management released a statement on the theft: “The matter is still under investigation and we’re working on putting the pieces together to understand precisely what happened. The artwork in question was not damaged and is safe.”

The museum did not identify which piece was taken, and it has no further comment at this time.

The exhibit, “Season of Warhol,” is a collection of the late artist’s paintings, prints, films, photographs and helium-filled balloons. It runs through March 28. 

In 1978, the Picasso painting “Flowers in a Vase,” also disappeared from a wall at the MAG. The Rochester Police Department was soon joined by the FBI in the investigation. The thief contacted the painting’s insurer, Lloyd’s of London, demanding $50,000 for the return of the Picasso, valued at $150,000 at the time, and more than a million in today’s dollars.

The painting was recovered when George LiVecchi met with a Rochester television reporter for an anonymous interview. LiVecchi was arrested by an FBI agent posing as the cameraman.