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$28K Worth of Art Misplaced During Botched Gallery Move

By Gwynne Hogan | February 15, 2016 4:10pm
 Seven Agatha Wojciechowsky surrealist paintings, each worth around $4,000, were missing for several days.
Seven Agatha Wojciechowsky surrealist paintings, each worth around $4,000, were missing for several days.
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Life on Mars Gallery

EAST WILLIAMSBURG — An art collector is furious after seven of his paintings, worth at total of $28,300, were left unattended and then misplaced by a gallery, according to authorities.

The works of Agatha Wojcieckowsky — a German surrealist artist who's work hangs at the Museum of Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum  — were mistakenly taken by a group of movers at the end of January, according to the director Life On Mars Gallery, Courtney Childress.

The pieces — each of which is valued around $4,000 — were on their way back to the gallery at 56 Bogart St. from Outsider Art Fair in Chelsea on Jan. 28 when they went missing, according to the collection's manager Steven Day.

"Oh my God, that sounds unprofessional," Day said, who was told by a reporter that his artwork had been misplaced. "It's pretty alarming."

"You always have two people. You never leave your artwork unattended," Day said.

Two days after the move, Childress discovered the paintings were gone, reported what she thought was theft to local police, she said.

The building's super soon reviewed security camera footage and saw that another group of movers had taken the Wojcieckowsky paintings while moving other works out of the building, Childress said.

The super managed to track them down and Life on Mars had them back in their hands within several days, Childress said.

"[It's] just a crazy circumstance...As a professional in this business, there's a set way of doing things and I followed the procedure," she said. "I'm thrilled that it's come back in good condition."

Wojciechowsky's brightly colored works have been displayed alongside artists like Man Ray and Marcel Duchampaccording to her biography.

News that his artwork had been unaccounted for for several days rattled the collection's manager.

"Agatha has passed on, she passed away in 1986, if any of her work is lost or damaged...she can't make it again," Day said.