FBI to offer reward for recovery of stolen Maine paintings

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 18, 2015 2:10 PM

BOSTON (Reuters) - The FBI on Tuesday is set to offer a reward for the recovery of two paintings by the New England artist N.C. Wyeth that were stolen from the home of a Maine collector two years ago, officials said.

The case dates to May 2013 when six oil paintings by Wyeth, the patriarch of a line of painters known for their Maine seascapes, were taken from the home of a prominent real estate developer in the state.

Additional details of the FBI's plans, including the amount of the reward, were not immediately available.

Three men have already pleaded guilty in federal courts in Maine and California to charges of trafficking in stolen goods for transporting the paintings to a Beverly Hills, California, pawn shop. Through them, four of the paintings have been recovered.

Born in Needham, Massachusetts, in 1882 Wyeth got his start as an illustrator of books and magazines and then gained acclaim for painting seascapes after settling in Port Clyde, Maine, on the state's rugged mid-coast, where he lived until his death in 1945.

Three of Wyeth's five children, Andrew, Henriette and Carolyn also became noted artists, as did his grandson, Jamie. The family's work features prominently in museums popular with tourists in Portland and Rockland, Maine.

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It is not the only case of stolen artwork facing the Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is also still working to determine who stole $500 million worth of art from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in a 1990 theft that stands as the largest art heist in U.S. history.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Lambert)