The FBI are on the lookout for an art thief who stole seven Andy Warhol editioned prints from the Springfield Art Museum in Springfield, Missouri. They announced on April 11th that they are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to its recovery.
On April 7th, it was believed that the break in and theft happened sometime during the early morning hours. Out of 10 prints at the Springfield Museum, 7 were taken. The 37 inches tall by 24.5 inches wide framed pictures included the beef, vegetable, tomato, onion, green pea, chicken noodle and black bean soup cans. The burglar left behind pepper pot, cream of mushroom and consommé.
The complete "Campbell's Soup" collection with all 10 frames is valued at $500,000. The prints are part of Set Number 31 of Andy Warhol's "Campbell's Soup 1" collection that he created in 1962. The museum has owned the pieces since 1985. The complete work contains 32 canvases- one of each of the varieties the canned soup company offered in that time.
"We appreciate the outpouring of support of the Springfield community and the quick response of the Springfield Police Department and FBI," said Art Museum Director Nick Nelson in a statement. "For those of us who work at the museum and in Springfield's art community, the theft of these iconic Warhol prints that the museum has had in our permanent collection for 30 years feels like the loss of a family member. We appreciate any assistance the public can provide to law enforcement to ensure the return of these treasured pieces of art."
The museum has remained open to the public, but the exhibit, "The Electric Garden of Our Minds: British/American Pop" was closed. It was originally set to run until the 17th of April.
"The museum is working with the proper authorities and being proactive in our security efforts as we remain open to the public. We are confident that the measures we are taking will protect the museum's treasures, while still making art accessible to our community," Nelson said.
Anyone with information on the stolen artwork should contact the FBI in Springfield, Missouri directly. Their number is 417-882-3303. They may also call the Springfield Police Department TIPS line at 417-869-TIPS.
Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can collection was his favorite work according to Phaidon.com. In a reflection on his career, he said, "I should have just done the Campbell's Soups and kept on doing them ... because everybody only does one painting anyway."
The paintings were suggested by a friend, who told him that he should choose something that everybody recognized, like Campbell's Soup. He traced projections of the soup cans onto canvas, and painted the realistic appearances of the cans with precision. When Irving Blum of Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles stopped by, he was surprised by the new soup cans- as opposed to the comic-strip paintings that Warhol had been doing, and he offered Andy a show that summer. After selling five of the prints, Blum saw that it was better to have the cans function as a single work, and bought them all back, offering to buy the set for $3,000. Andy Warhol continued to paint the cans in various ways- including some crushed ones.