Has anyone seen these works of art? Investor's desperate appeal after $10m raid at his home
'King of Bonds' offers £1m reward for return of paintings by Jasper Johns and Mondrian
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 26 September 2012
The wealthy American investor Jeffrey Gundlach, dubbed the "King of Bonds," has offered a $1.7m (£1m) bounty for the safe return of paintings raided from his house earlier this month, which include a prized work by Piet Mondrian.
Thieves plundered the Santa Monica home of the art-obsessed bond-fund manager, swiping possessions worth over $10m, including 13 works from his art collection, luxury watches and 40 bottles of fine wine. They even fled the scene in his Porsche Carrera 4S sports car.
Mr Gundlach, whose passion for modern art was inspired by a visit to the Tate in London, had initially offered $200,000 for tips that would lead to the safe return of the art pieces taken. He held a press conference on Monday to say he had added a $1m reward for the 1936 Mondrian work Composition (A) En Rouge Et Blanc.
A further $500,000 bounty has now been added for the recovery of three works: Jasper Johns' Green Target, and two by Joseph Cornell, Medici Princess and Pinturicchio Boy. Police revealed they were working with art-theft experts from the FBI and Interpol to recover the works.
Mr Gundlach believes the robbers did not know the value of the art they had taken. "The mix of things that were taken suggest that the people did not come to take art," he said.
However, the press conference in Los Angeles came to a halt after Mr Gundlach, whose DoubleLine Capital has $48bn under management, refused to answer any of the questions posed by the attending media. He would not confirm if the property stolen was insured, whether the house had a security system or if he suspected anyone of being involved in the crime. Mr Gundlach's property was taken while he was away on a trip, sometime between 12-14 September.
The bond manager has a particular obsession with Mondrian after seeing his work in London a decade ago, several years later buying his own. He told the Financial Times last year: "It was a big deal, it actually took all the money that I had."
The investment firm itself was named after a painting technique employed by the Dutch painter and his passion for art is also demonstrated in the names of the conference rooms at the DoubleLine office in LA, which are named after other famous painters.
The largest ever private reward was the $5m offered by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, after 13 paintings were stolen in 1990. The works, which included three Rembrandts, have never been recovered.
Mr Gundlach has a colourful background. After graduating from Dartmouth, he dropped out of Yale's applied mathematics PhD programme, only to join a 1980s rock band called Radical Flats. The band failed to make it big, but inspired by a television programme about the wealthy banking lifestyle, he applied for a job at the bond firm TCW.
In 2006 the celebrated manager had warned of the impending problems from mortgage-backed securities, which would go on to drive the global financial downturn. He was fired by TCW last year and set up a rival firm, which has proved hugely lucrative in its short existence.
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