Art collector wins $3m civil suit for decades-old theft

  • August 24, 2011 16:44

  • Email
Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906), Bouilloire et Fruits (Pitcher and Fruits), 1888-90, oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 24 in. (50 x 61 cm).

In 1978, Michael Bakwin and his wife left their Berkshires home for a weekend trip only to find seven paintings missing upon their return. Among the couple's stolen artwork was a major still life by Cezanne that would later fetch $29.3 million at a Sotheby's auction.

The largest residential theft in Massachusetts history was finally concluded Tuesday when Bawkin won a $3 million civil judgment against the man who possessed the artwork for more than two decades and tried to sell it, according to Bakwin’s lawyer.

Robert M. Mardirosian, a retired criminal defense lawyer, was convicted in federal court in Boston in August 2008 of possessing six of the stolen paintings and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He is now in prison and has been ordered to pay $3 million to Bawkin for his costs in recovering the stolen art.

Mardirosian received the paintings from a client who later was shot to death for a poker debt he owed. For a time, the stolen art was hidden in Massachusetts before heading to a Swiss bank, and then to auction in London where Mardirosian expected to cash in. The Art Loss Register which tracks stolen art halted the sale.

Bawkin was able to reacquire his paintings, including Cezanne's “Bouilloire et Fruits,’’ from 1888-90, sold in 1999 at Sotheby's, and two more were recovered last year after Mardirosian's appeal process ended.

“I think the civil jury here has sent a strong message to those dealing in stolen art that there will be a price to pay for that activity,’’ said Michael Collora, the Boston lawyer representing Bakwin.

Read more at Boston Globe

Tags: european art

  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

Lot and His Daughters, about 1622, Orazio Gentileschi.  Recreation on Twitter by Qie Zhang, Erik Carlsson, and their daughters.  Part of the Getty's challenge on social media, #betweenartandquarantine and #tussenkunstenquarataine.

Museum Survey Details Impact of Closures and Results of Digital Initiatives

  • NEMO survey / April 7th, 2020

A new survey released by the Network of European Museum Organizations (NEMO) looks at data from museums in Europe and ...

RALPH A.  BLAKELOCK (1847---- 1919) White House with Rainbow, 1867.  Oil on canvas, 6 x 12 inches, Signed and dated 1867, lower right

Virtual View: A Springtime Awakening with Selected Works from Hawthorne Fine Art

  • ArtfixDaily / April 7th, 2020

In celebration of the warmth and rejuvenation of the Springtime, New York's Hawthorne Fine Art presents an online ...

Doris Day in her swimsuit on a boat ride in Spain in the early 1950s.

Online Auction of Doris Day Estate Items Catapults to $3 Million, 10 Times Pre-Sale Low Estimate

  • Variety, for photos of Doris Day / April 6th, 2020

An online auction of memorabilia and estate items from popular mid-20th century singer and actress Doris Day fetched ...

Lockwood de Forest (1850 - 1932), "Moon in Trailing Clouds," May 1901, oil on canvas, courtesy Sullivan Goss Gallery

Starry Nights: Visions of the Night Sky—Wildling Museum Online Exhibit Explores Nocturne Painting, Astrophotography and Light Pollution

  • ArtfixDaily / April 5th, 2020

If you're enjoying the Pink Supermoon this week, pair your lunar looking with some nocturnes in art. The Wildling ...


Related Press Releases

Related Events

Goto Calendar

ARTFIXdaily Artwire