Thursday, August 12, 1999

Paintings stolen from downtown gallery

2 Valentiens taken during renovation

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Two small paintings by Rookwood Pottery artist Albert Valentien have been stolen from Cincinnati Art Galleries, 225 E. Sixth St., downtown. The paintings were taken during the week of Aug. 2, gallery owner Randall Sandler said.

        The paintings, valued at $2,000 each, are watercolor studies of California wildflowers.

        “It's not that they're all that valuable, but they were to be part of an exhibition we've planned, and they are by an important artist,” Mr. Sandler said. “They are the first florals I've seen by the artist in 20 years.”

        The paintings were taken from an area used for storage between auctions, Mr. Sandler said. “There were some larger paintings there, too, but these were easy to tuck under an arm.”

        The building is being renovated in preparation for the gallery's September move from 635 Main St. “There is a lot of construction going on, and people are going in and out a lot.” Mr. Sandler noticed that they were missing after returning from a trip.

        Albert Valentien was one of the most important artists at Rookwood Pottery from 1881 to 1905, when he moved to California. Between 1908 and 1918, he was commissioned by the Scripps family to make watercolor paintings of all the wildflowers of California. One of the two missing paintings shows yellow poppies. The other is identified on the painting as groundsel. They measure about 24 by 18 inches framed. Mr. Sandler is offering a $500 reward for their return.


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