Three More People Are Arrested in Connection With the Theft of Maurizio Cattelan’s Solid Gold Toilet From an English Palace

A reward of almost $130,000 is also available to anyone with information leading to the sculpture's recovery.

Installation view, America (2016),
Installation view of Maurizio Cattelan's America (2016) in "Victory is Not an Option" at Blenheim Palace, 2019. Photo by Tom Lin.

Do you know anything about the brazen theft of Maurizio Cattelan’s sold gold toilet?

Anyone with information leading to the safe recovery of America, which was stolen from the artist’s exhibition at one of England’s grandest stately homes last month, could earn a reward of nearly $130,000 from an insurance company working to secure the return of the work. Although some suspect the sculpture has long since been melted down for parts, the investigation remains ongoing: British police confirmed that three more people have recently been arrested as part of the case.

The suspects arrested last week, according to a statement from the Thames Valley Police first reported by the BBC, all live in Oxford, the nearest city to Blenheim Palace, where Cattelan’s notorious work was installed as a working toilet. The 18-carat America (2016) was stolen early on September 14, the morning after the opening party for Cattelan’s exhibition, his first solo show in the UK.

In a statement, the police said that a 35-year-old man, a 34-year-old man, and a 36-year-old woman were arrested on October 16. They were detained on suspicion of conspiring to commit a burglary. They have all since been released under investigation.

Installation view, Victory is Not an Option (2019), Maurizio Cattelan at Blenheim Palace, 2019. Photo by Tom Lindboe.

Meanwhile, detectives are still hunting for the missing work of art, which is reportedly valued at $6 million. A spokesman for Fine Art Specie Adjusters, which is working on behalf of the palace’s insurance company, confirmed the size of the reward, which is up to £100,000 ($129,000). It will be paid out if the information provided leads “to the safe return of the sculpture and conviction of the offender[s],” the spokesman said.

Shortly after the sculpture was taken from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, police arrested two men, who were both released under investigation. Authorities also released images of the aftermath of the high-profile heist, which caused damage to the bathroom once used by Winston Churchill. (Churchill was born in Blenheim, his ancestral home.)

The Italian artist—known for witty pranks—quickly made it clear that he had nothing to do with the theft of the sculpture, which first gained notoriety when the Guggenheim’s chief curator, Nancy Spector, offered to loan it to the White House in 2017. “I wish it was a prank,” Cattelan told the New York Times shortly after the burglary. But since the work was always intended to  about the one percent, for the 99 percent, he reasoned: “I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action.”

Cattelan’s exhibition, “Victory is Not an Option,” which was organized by the Blenheim Palace Art Foundation, is due to close on October 27. On its website, the foundation warns visitors that America is missing, although the American curator Cecelia Alemani was able to post an Instagram showing the scene of the crime earlier this month.

Dominic Hare, the chief executive of Blenheim Palace, said in statement: “We are extremely grateful for all the hard work and dedication from everyone involved trying to find the stolen piece of Cattelan’s exhibition. We continue to hope the culprits and this special piece of art are found soon.’’


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