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In an apartment high above Manhattan, paintings by van Gogh, Matisse and Modigliani overlooked the East River and tribal artworks and Egyptian antiquities mingled with Giacometti bronzes and furniture. Several blocks west, a monumental Miró bronze stood guard by a skyscraper known for its sloping glass facade and masterpieces inside. 

But now the future of one of the finest 20th-century art collections hangs in the balance following the death last month of Sheldon Solow, 92, the self-made real estate tycoon who amassed it over five decades. Many works decorated the Solows’ flat at United Nations Plaza. A rotating cast of trophies was displayed in a street-facing gallery at the Solow Building on West 57th Street, the home of the Solow Art and Architecture Foundation and the heart of his real estate empire.

Read more on The New York Times:

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A painting by American Impressionist, Robert Spencer entitled The Boating Party which had been stolen from Tennis Hall of Famer and gallerist, Gene Mako in 1995.

A native of Hungary, Constantine “Gene” Mako learned to play tennis in Southern California where he became one of the elite players to take to the tennis courts in the 1930s.

Known for his fierce serve and powerful smashes, Mako won doubles championships at the United States Open and Wimbledon before shoulder injuries affected his career. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1973 and the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. After his playing career, he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, owned a tennis court construction business, and became an art dealer.

In the mid-1990s, Mako intended to donate his entire art collection of over 800 paintings to his hometown of Culver City, California when, during inventory, he discovered a number of paintings went missing from two of his storage facilities.  A police report was filed with the Los Angeles Police Department who suspected that the paintings were stolen by someone who knew Mako and took advantage of him. No arrests were made.

Christopher Marinello CEO of Art Recovery International who recovered the work said “It’s encouraging to know that despite a worldwide pandemic, nationwide protests, and local wildfires, art theft is taken seriously by the LAPD, one of the first law enforcement agencies to create an Art Theft Detail.  27 years later, they are still going strong”.

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 You may also like to read:

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