Mystery art theft

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by admin on May 27, 2009

Brennan’s Hill has its own art theft mystery.

Has anyone seen this painting?

Has anyone seen this painting?

When Christine Granger, an artist well known for her colourful icon paintings, approached her studio that doubles as a cottage the morning of May 11, she knew she’d been broken into.

“I noticed some paintings on the grass before I went in,” she said. “Inside everything was a mess and my painting supplies were thrown all over the ground.

“It was quite a shock to see it all upside down like that.”

Granger said the thieves made off with two sculptures, a framed painting of hers and several others by other artists.

Granger, who paints primarily icons and Christian art, had her piece, “Madonna for Norval Morisseau”, framed and waiting near the door for an exhibit this week at Carleton University.

The stolen sculptures were made by Ottawa artist Herman Falke. Granger described them both as being strongly influenced by African art.

Strange enough that someone would risk jail for pieces of art -not a particularly easy trade for cash at the local pawn shop.

But further inspection into the ransacked studio revealed the thieves may have been after something more.

Mattresses were overturned, a trap door to a dusty, unused basement was pried open, Granger’s stand up spot lights were moved to point at places on the walls. Both upstairs and down, the thieves had cut away at the wood panels, even pulling out insulation to get a good look at what was inside those walls.

“It was a really, really thorough search, almost as if they were looking for something specific,” Granger said, although she doesn’t know what that might have been. “They may have had the wrong studio.”

Granger estimates from the tire marks and paintings littered across her lawn that the thieves were driving an ATV with a trailer hitched to it. Her bumpy driveway would have caused the trailer’s contents to spill out.

She recovered eight of her paintings from the lawn, along with some painting supplies. The paintings were outside overnight, but she said it was a nice night and the water-colour paper they were on dried.

An air conditioner, DVD player and paper cutter were also stolen.

Granger’s work has been displayed at the McKenzie Marcotte gallery, most recently in January. She has paintings in various chapels and one at the Museum of Civilization.

She has used her studio near Brennan’s Hill since 1997.

Granger is hoping her stolen paintings will turn up. Anyone with information can contact her at 819-422-3732 or the MRC des Collines Police at 819-459-9911.

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