FBI Recovers 2 Paintings Stolen 50 Years Ago

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recovered and returned two paintings to their rightful owners after they were stolen 50 years ago.

The FBI’s Art Crime Team returned two paintings to the Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) in New Paltz, New York, 50 years after they were stolen in February of 1972. 

“HHS reached out to members of the Art Crime Team in 2021 when they discovered the painting had been listed for sale at an auction. Investigators tracked down the buyer, who did not know the paintings had been stolen, and they assisted the FBI in returning the art to HHS,” said the FBI in a statement.

According to FBI investigators, the artworks had no public record until an auction house advertised them for sale in 2005, from which they were able to track the two paintings down.

The FBI said that the paintings date back to the 1820s, but they were donated to the HHS in December of 1971 by a woman named Marie Wiersum. 

The FBI elaborated that the two oil paintings, which are portraits, depict Derrick Wynkoop and his wife Ann Eltinge, a wealthy married couple who were descendants of New Paltz’s earliest Dutch immigrants.

The portraits were done by famous 19th-century painter, Ammi Phillips.

The FBI also revealed that several other items were also stolen along with the painting in 1972 and that HHS members were able to recover some of them, but the painting was assumed to be lost forever. 

A public ceremony commemorating the return of the paintings was held earlier this month in the HHS.

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