In 2003, a woman found a stolen painting worth $1 million in the trash on a NYC curb. She felt it “had power” and took it without knowing its origin or value. She spent 4 years researching it and discovered it’d been stolen in 1987. She got a $15,000 reward plus a % of its $1,049,000 sale price.
When the artist, Melanie Willhide, got her stolen laptop back, all her files were deleted by the burglar. Data recovery experts were able to recover some of them. The photos were corrupted, but she decided to exhibit the work. The show was titled after the burglar.
In 1995, an artist named William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He continued to make art for the last few years of his life, both as documentation of his daily life and of his decline in cognitive function. Looking through these pieces, you can trace his cognitive changes.
The actor who played Furio on the Sopranos once discovered a painting in a museum had been mislabeled. He bought it for $70k and it ended up being worth $10 million.
Serbian artist Uroš Predić made a painting of drunks in his village returning home from the pub at dawn. He hoped the painting would convince them to change their ways but instead they ended up loving it. Some even complimented how accurate it was.
When a painting was stolen from the Museum of Bad Art, the museum initially offered a reward of $6.50 for its return. This was latter upped to $36.73. Ten years later, the thief contacted the museum and demanded a $5000 ransom for the painting. No ransom was paid, but it was returned anyway.
The painting “The Scream” was painted with a red sky accurately depicting the Norwegian sky at the time caused by the eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia.
A man bought a golden egg for $13,000 at a sale. It turned out it was an incredibly rare Fabergé egg, once owned by the Emperor of Russia, that had been missing since 1902. It is worth $33,300,000.
The Japanese repair broken pottery with gold lacquer to highlight imperfections. The process is called Kintsugi. The art of Kintsugi teaches that broken objects are not something to hide but to display with pride.
After two children carelessly destroyed a sculpture called “Angel is waiting”, while their parents filmed them, the artist renamed it “Broken” and left it on display with a video monitor showing footage of the incident.
After a woman died, a multimillion dollar painting she owned was re-assessed at $0 due to it containing part of a bald eagle. In America, it is illegal to buy or sell them without a permit. The IRS disagreed and put a $65M tax on it. But her heirs cannot sell the painting due to the eagle.
A solid gold toilet was once on display at a museum in New York. Over 100,000 people lined up to use it.