The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has set a reward of $25,000 for information on the Andy Warhol art that was stolen on Wednesday from an art museum in Springfield, Mo.
The reward posted is for the recovery of seven screen prints of Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup cans that have been a part of the Springfield Art Museum’s collection since 1985, according to the New York Times.
The thieves managed to steal seven of the 10 print collection; the beef, vegetable, tomato, onion, green pea, chicken noodle, and black bean cans were taken between 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 8:45 a.m. on Thursday. The Springfield Art Museum does not have security guards after hours and employees did not know the Warhol art was stolen until Thursday morning.
The FBI’s Art Crime Team said it is now seeking help from the public in finding the stolen Warhol artworks and a reward is now being offered, a week after the art was stolen, according to NBC News. The stolen “soup can” prints measure 37 inches by 24.5 inches (three feet tall and two feet wide) and were displayed in white wooden frames. The stolen Warhol art is easily recognizable to even casual art viewers.
Nick Nelson, the museum’s director, did a press release on Monday for the museum.
“The museum is working with the proper authorities and being proactive in our security efforts as we remain open to the public. We are confident that the measures we are taking will protect the museum’s treasures, while still making art accessible to our community.”
Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman with the Springfield Police Department, said, “They were one of those kinds of ‘claim to fame’ types of pieces,” but has found no leads about where the stolen Warhol art is now. “We’re looking at everything,” she added.
Interpol is now a part of the search and will watch for Warhol art being moved across the border. The stolen prints are a part of Set Number 31 of the “Campbell’s Soup I” and are estimated to cost $500,000 as a set of 10 according to Time. The FBI has pointed out that the value would decline as the set of 10 is no longer together. The “pepper pot, cream of mushroom and consommé (beef)” prints are still in the museum but the exhibition is now closed to the public.
Ron Rivlin, who owns Revolver, a Los Angeles gallery specializing in Warhol’s art, said that there were 250 prints made of each type of soup in the Campbell’s Soup 1 series. Riylin estimated that there are 50 complete sets of 10 prints left in existence. “Taking only seven of the 10 total prints devalues whatever profit thieves would hope to make off the heist,” Rivlin said.
Cora Scott, a spokeswoman for the city, noted that many pieces of artwork are donated to the museum and that all the works at the museum are covered by a fine arts insurance policy. The stolen Warhol art was gifted to the museum in 1985 by Ronald K., Robert C., and Larry H. Greenburg, according to News Leader.
“We are still researching whether or not there has ever been a loss of artwork in the past,” Scott wrote in an email. “There hasn’t been an incident in any recent history. We are constantly working on improving security measures and find it a challenging balance with keeping art accessible to the community. We appreciate the outpouring of support we are already receiving from our art patrons.”
[Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images]