These are images of some of the missing art. (Photo courtesy SMPD)
These are some of the missing works of art. (Image courtesy SMPD)

DOWNTOWN L.A. — A Santa Monica resident who lost millions of dollars worth of contemporary art in a suspected burglary has upped the reward for four of the pieces to a combined $1.5 million.

Jeffrey Gundlach, the top dog at investment management firm Doubleline Capital LP, held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce that he would offer $1 million for information leading to the safe recovery of “Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc” by Piet Mondrian and another $500,000 for information leading to the recovery of two decorative boxes by Joseph Cornell and “Green Target” by Jasper Johns.

The new amount is in addition to the $200,000 reward Gundlach put forward last week to incentivize the return of all 12 pieces of artwork that were taken from his home while he was away on a trip between 3 p.m. Sept. 12 and 8 p.m. Sept. 14.

Gundlach also lost $100,000 worth of wine, five watches, a 2010 Porsche Carrera 4S and a gun in the burglary, according to Santa Monica police.

Police would not say how the thief or thieves gained access to the home, nor if there was an alarm system.

Gundlach would not comment specifically on the investigation Monday, nor would he confirm if the pieces taken were insured at the time.

The added price on the Mondrian work, in particular, is a factor of Gundlach’s appreciation of the piece and the artist.

“Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc” includes two stark, black lines, a design that appears often in Mondrian’s work.

The lines inspired the name of Gundlach’s company, and was meant to represent the solidity and security of the investments that Doubleline Capital made on behalf of its clients, officials say.

Although police originally estimated the amount of the theft at $10 million, it appears to be much more.

Records from public auctions show eight of the pieces — or similar works by the same artists released in the same year — valued between $27.3 and $32.5 million.

No thief would get full price for the art, said Cecilia Dan, an appraiser and private market dealer.

“You can’t sell this stuff,” Dan said. “Not only is it extremely hot, it’s nuclear. There’s no way anybody would want to buy this because you can’t buy it with any sort of title.”

The value of the works isn’t so much in what they look like as it is in the context in which they were made. That includes rarity of the works and what kind of critical acclaim the artist enjoys.

“Value is a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but the market is a very real thing,” Dan said.

The Santa Monica Police Department, FBI, Department of Justice, Interpol and the Los Angeles Police Department are collaborating on the investigation.

Anyone with information is urged to contact investigators at (310) 458-8432, (310) 458-8453 or the watch commander (24 hours) at (310) 458-8495.

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous, can call We-Tip at (800) 78-CRIME or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. Those who provide tips are eligible for a reward up to $1,000, police said. Tipsters can also contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. Texting tips can also be done by visiting the website.

 

ashley@www.smdp.com

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