August 9, 2018

De Kooning painting stolen by couple 30 years ago

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 6:47 pm

American couple Jerry and Rita Alter have been posthumously identified as having stolen the painting ‘Woman-Ochre’ by Dutch abstract impressionist Willem de Kooning.

For decades, the painting now worth 160 million US dollars was hanging on the bedroom wall of the couple’s home in New Mexico. It was discovered last year by an antique dealer, as it was part of the belongings of the deceased couple. Jerry Alter died in 2012 at 81, while his wife Rita, who also died aged 81, did so in 2017.

The painting was stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson more than 30 years ago, and the couple was definitely in town when that happened. The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that a family photo had surfaced, showing that the day before the painting vanished, the couple was in Tucson, Arizona.

The theft was simple: the couple showed up early at the museum, early enough to be let in, but not too early to be told to wait. Rita distracted the guard while Jerry went in, cut out the painting, rolled it up, and put it under his coat. They then had a quick 15-minute visit and left with the painting.

According to The Washington Post, the works of De Kooning remain among the most marketable in the world. We told you in July about some works by De Kooning found in a storage locker worth quite a bit.


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July 23, 2018

Works by De Kooning found in storage locker

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 12:38 pm


In 2016 a Belgian had scored a Willem de Kooning painting at flea market, and now an American art dealer in New York has found works that are probably by de Kooning, as well as a work by Swiss-German Paul Klee in a New Jersey storage locker for which he paid 15.000 USD (12.819 euro).

The art dealer bought the storage locker after an auction house had passed up the opportunity to do so, which indicated it probably didn’t have anything of value, but boy were they wrong if this all pans out.

However, the paintings are not signed. The Willem de Kooning Foundation based in Manhattan does not authenticate works, so the dealer hired an expert who believes that they absolutely are by De Kooning and are worth millions of dollars.

(Links:, Photo of Willem de Kooning by Smithsonian Institution Archives, some rights reserved)

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August 25, 2016

Belgian scores De Kooning painting at flea market

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 7:32 pm


A Belgian man from Turnhout, Jan Starckx, bought a portrait of a young girl in a red dress for 450 euro, which has turned out to be an original Willem de Kooning (shown here), a Dutch-American painter originally from Rotterdam.

Authenticated by experts on the BBC television show ‘Fake or Fortune’, the painting has been valued at between 55,000 and 100,000 euro. Starckx intends to exhibit the work first in Turnhout and then in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels where it was painted. In April the work will be brought together with a similar work, ‘Portrait of RenĂ©e’ at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, USA.

“I thought it was a great painting and I was intrigued by the signature that misses the final ‘g’: ‘Wim Koonin’ it says”, explained Starckx.

(Link:, Photo of Willem de Kooning by Smithsonian Institution Archives, some rights reserved)

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February 24, 2013

Art students hack Google Images to become advertising platform

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 2:03 pm

Students of the Willem de Kooning art academy in Rotterdam have managed to take a search string, ‘ultimate business car’, and have this produce five pictures in Google’s search engine for images that, once put next to each other, form an advertisement.

Search engines are in a continuous battle with Search Engine Optimizers, companies with the morals of an arsonist who try to replace relevant search results with links to the sites of their paymasters.

Students Pim van Bommel, Guus ter Beek and Alwin Lanting used the help of ‘hardcore SEO-ers’ to get the ad to show up in Google’s search results. The ad is no longer visible in its original form. When 24 Oranges searched for ‘ultimate business car’, the first panel had disappeared entirely and the text panels were in a different order. Van Bommel told Bright: “As soon as users start clicking on images Google’s algorithm changes the display order based on popularity. Unfortunately that is an aspect we do not yet control. Ads in which the order of the images is of less importance would be a good solution.”

The students call this concept Search Engine Advertising.


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