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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:

Two Stolen Van Gogh Paintings Recovered After 14 Years 

London gallery reveals two Rembrandt masterpieces that were nearly stolen

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Lost Paintings Revisited

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