Search For Stolen Sculpture

Tuesday, February 6th 2007, 9:08 pm
By: News On 6

A month has passed since an expensive piece of artwork was stolen from a Tulsa art gallery. News on 6 Anchor Craig Day reports there are still few leads in the theft, and it’s hoped someone will recognized the artwork and call police.

A world-renowned Native American artist who was originally from Oklahoma sculpted the artwork. The sculpture is now in the hands of a thief.

At the “Joseph Gierek Art Gallery” on Cherry Street, there are always stunning pieces of artwork on display. But, it was the sculpture he didn't see, that stunned Gierek.

"Walked out, got to about here and as you can see when you look straight ahead there is just nothing there,” Joseph Gierek said. “It's a sculpture stand with a light shining down and nothing on top of it."

Sometime between January 9th and 11th, a thief made off with a small Allan Houser sculpture that is valued at $11,000.

"I've never had anything stolen in my life. So it’s extremely frustrating, just really kind of a shock," he said.

Allan Houser is considered one of the most important American artists of the 20th Century, honored by President's and admired by art enthusiasts around the world. Gierek thinks someone may try to sell the sculpture, possibly over the Internet.

"We've alerted as many people as possible as far as different galleries, museums, foundries, auction houses etceteras," Gierek said.

Gierek says it's the first time in his 25 years in the industry he's ever had anything stolen. Because of that, Gierek says he hasn't been as concerned about theft as he has about damage to the artwork, perhaps from an Oklahoma tornado or possibly a fire. But in light of what's happened he's considering additional security measures. He's also repositioned other art pieces so he can better keep an eye on them.

For now, Gierek hopes someone recognizes the piece and it is safely returned.

The sculpture has several identifying marks. Houser's name is at the base of the bronze, it has an edition number of 24 out of 50, there’s a foundry stamp of AHI and year 1994.

Gierek is offering a cash reward in the case.

The sculpture was insured, but the best situation would be for it to be returned, so people can view and enjoy it.