Stolen Dali Painting Returned to Gallery in ‘Pristine’ Condition

’Cartel de Don Juan Tenirio,’ courtesy of Venus Over Manhattan.

A $150,000 Salvador Dali painting stolen from an Upper East Side gallery the week before last has been returned unharmed. The 1949 watercolor-and-ink work, called Cartel de Don Juan Tenirio, went missing from the Venus Over Manhattan gallery when a thief in a checkered suit (who was caught on camera) removed it from a wall and placed it in a shopping bag during business hours. On Monday, the gallery received an e-mail containing a tracking number and informing them that “Cartel” was “on its way back to you already.”

And yesterday, a package containing the painting arrived at JFK airport: “It seems to be in exceptional condition,” a source told the New York Post. “It was addressed to the gallery and it had a return address, but it appears to be bogus and the name is illegible.” The episode has been described as “bizarre” and — inevitably — “surreal,” though the New York Times has a pretty down-to-earth explanation for it: Paintings by famous artists stolen under highly publicized circumstances are 1) very difficult to actually sell and 2) very inconvenient things to be caught with.

Stolen Dali Work Returned to Gallery Unharmed