The series of Andy Warhol portraits of famous athletes stolen last month from the home of Californian collector Richard Weisman had been on the market for over two years (a portrait of Weisman was also taken). The complete set of ten portraits was first put up for sale for £14.2m ($28m) in 2007 through London dealer Martin Summers Fine Art, but did not sell. They were then shown at the Galleri Faurschou in Beijing last summer in an exhibition coinciding with the Olympics, but again went unsold. Weisman, a nephew of Norton Simon, founder of the Californian museum, commissioned the series in the late 1970s for $800,000. Warhol produced eight complete sets of the “Athletes” series, each portrait silk-screened in different colour combinations and signed by the artist and the athlete depicted. Another edition of the Muhammad Ali portrait from the series, consigned to auction by Weisman’s ex-wife, sold at Christie’s, New York for $9.2m in 2007. According to the Los Angeles police department, a $1m reward is being offered.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Warhol’s famous athlete portraits stolen'