FBI Seeks Rightful Owners Of Kingsland’s Artwork

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The New York Sun

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is reaching out to the public in an effort to locate the rightful owners of works from the estate of an Upper East Side art collector.

The FBI has published links to 116 images of items from the estate of the enigmatic William Kingsland — who died intestate in 2006, leaving a trove of art in an East 72nd Street apartment — along with an article on its Web site under the headline “Stolen Art Uncovered: Is it Yours?”

Two Picasso sketches that a mover was charged with purloining in 2006 from Kingsland’s estate were stolen from a Manhattan gallery in the 1960s, according to the FBI’s Web site.

Before his death, more than 300 works of art filled Kingsland’s crowded apartment. “It was a storage locker, basically,” a photographer who knew the art collector, Addison Thompson, said.

Kingsland, who was born Melvyn Kohn and changed his name as a teenager, was a “very informed conversationalist” who could be entertaining, the realist painter Joseph Keiffer said.

By publishing the artwork on its Web site, the agency is giving other claimants an opportunity to come forward, the public administrator of New York, Ethel Griffin, said.

Two works by Fairfield Porter, a bust by Alberto Giacometti, and a painting by Odilon Redon are among artwork believed to have questionable provenance. Christie’s London canceled its sale of a still life by painter Giorgio Morandi from Kingsland’s estate, and Harvard University has claimed a work by John Singleton Copley and a painting of a Harvard president. How Kingsland acquired these and other works remains uncertain.

“The estate is one of the more unusual cases we’ve had,” Ms. Griffin, whose office has laid out a list of claims made so far against the estate, said.


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