Police seek clues in painting’s disappearance | AspenTimes.com

Police seek clues in painting’s disappearance

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

“Geza’s Wife,” a painting worth $275,000, was stolen last week, and if you know where she might be, your help is worth a $5,000 reward from the David Floria Gallery in Aspen.

The 1964 painting by Alice Neel was stolen from the Mill Street gallery last Monday. The oil-on-canvas painting depicts a woman in a vibrant red dress, David Floria said. It measures 40 inches by 30 inches.

Yesterday, Floria released information about Neel and the painting’s importance. The artist was born in 1900 in Marion Square, Pa., and died in 1984 in New York City. In the 1920s she left the “insulated safety of middle-class Philadelphia to lead an unconventional and bohemian life,” Floria said, “surviving heartbreaks, suicide attempts and early dismissal by the critics.”

He said Neel called herself “a collector of souls” and said she was able to sense the character of her subject. She captured the essence of Andy Warhol, Frank O’Hara and Ed Koch.

“Geza’s Wife” was painted when art dealer Geza de Vegh showed Neel’s paintings in the 1960s in his New Jersey gallery. It features de Vegh’s “very sexy, much younger second wife, Suzanne,” Floria said, adding that while Neel’s paintings are often brutally honest, “this one is quite complimentary and beautiful.”

Aspen Police Detective Jim Crowley said he is following some leads in the case. Anyone with information about the painting is asked to call Aspen police at 920-5400.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]