Stolen Marc Chagall Painting to Be Returned After 30 Years


A painting completed by Marc Chagall in the year 1911 and stolen from a New York’s couple’s home in 1988 is going to be finally returned to the family estate after 30 long years.

The painting, title Othello and Desdemona, was completed by the famed artists during his time in Paris.

It was purchased by the Hellers in the year 1920. It was stolen from their Upper East Side building in Manhattan during the 80s together with more than a dozen other art works and jewellery. The painting was recovered last year after a man contacted a gallery owner in DC gallery twice who refused to purchase it and suggested the seller to contact authorities for proof of ownership.

He also informed the authorities about the art work and the FBI Art Crime Team took it from there. It is informed that the man who tried to sell the painting had kept it in his attic safely in a customised wooden box which he made it himself with some plywood and a door jamb. The art work stayed there for more than 30 years.

Upon inquiry, he told the authorities that it was given to him by another man who is suspected to taking it from the Hellers. Mr Heller was a retired jewel importer and the couple also owned other paintings by Picasso, Renoir and Hopper together with some other works of Chagall. Mr Heller died in 1998 and his wife in 2003.

The Maryland man (who has not been named) tried to sell the painting once in 2011 and again in 2017 after a selling deal fell through a dispute over his share of earnings. The painting still has the names of Hellers on it. It shows Shakespeare’s Othello holding a sword and gazing at Desdemona, his bride.

The FBI officials dealing with the case said that known works of art are very difficult to move once they are well documented. The prosecutors were asked to return the painting to the Hellers estate where it will be put for auction for potential buyers. Earnings from the auction will then be given to the insurance company which had settled the theft claim while the remainder will go to any charity funded or supported by the Hellers estate. The Maryland man who tried to sell the painting to the gallery owner will not face any charges.