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Stolen Rembrandt’s “The Judgment” recovered in Encino

Rembrandt van Rijn‘s “The Judgment,” (dated around 1655) which was stolen from a private art exhibition in the Ritz Calton Marina del Rey on Saturday was recovered today in an unlocked building at an unnamed church in Encino. Detective Clarence Williams said that the thief (or thieves) tried to peel the paper backing from the frame to try to remove it but stopped before doing any damage. The widespread publicity concerning the theft may have been responsible for the abandonment of the piece. An anonymous tip led to the recovery of the pen-and-ink drawing, which has an estimated value of at least $250,000.

The theft occurred when a curator was distracted by someone who appeared interested in buying a piece. When the curator turned back to the exhibit, the Rembrandt was gone. L.A. County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Steve Whitmore, said that authorities believe more than one person was involved in the theft. The Sheriff’s Office is reviewing videotapes, and no one has been charged in the case, yet.

The piece found at the church building will soon be authenticated to confirm that it is the original Rembrandt, but it appears to be.

This is the second “happy ending” to a major art theft in California this summer, after the recovery of a Pablo Picasso pencil drawing, “Tête de Femme” (“Head of a Woman”[1965]) stolen in San Francisco.

-Bill at

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