Portrait of Diana Vreeland Stolen From New York Hotel

The suspect was seen sipping champagne prior to the theft.

Bradley Theodore, Diana Vreeland. Courtesy of Bradley Theodore.
Bradley Theodore, Diana Vreeland. Courtesy of Bradley Theodore.

No one ever wants their art to be stolen, but such was the case for artist Bradley Theodore when a thief made off with his portrait of legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland that had been hanging at the Dream Downtown hotel.

“I think someone was just like ‘eff it, I’ll take it,'” said Theodore in an interview with artnet News. He called the ordeal “pretty crazy” and suspects that the fact that none of the works on view were for sale may have encouraged the thief.

Bradley Theodore painting a street art version of his stolen Diana Vreeland painting. Courtesy of Bradley Theodore.

Bradley Theodore painting a street art version of his stolen Diana Vreeland painting. Courtesy of Bradley Theodore.

The suspect paid his tab at 2:45 a.m. the morning of April 16, according to the New York Daily News, before grabbing the painting off the wall. Surprisingly, it was returned less than 24 hours later. According to Theodore, the hotel has the credit card information of the person suspected of stealing the work, who was seen “balling and poppin’ champagne” at the hotel club prior to the theft.

The painting is one of 36 works by the artist that went on view at the hotel in June as part of a six-month artist residency program. The paintings are personal favorites of the artist, who transitioned from working in digital media in 2013, and are not for sale.

Former Vogue magazine editor Diana Vreeland in 1980. Courtesy of Evening Standard/Getty Images.

Former Vogue magazine editor Diana Vreeland in 1980. Courtesy of Evening Standard/Getty Images.

In a 2014 interview with Streets & Style, Theodore named the Vreeland portrait his favorite of the artworks he’s made. He has become known for his signature depictions of fashion greats like Karl Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel with colorful skulls for heads.

The work is now in police custody, so Theodore has not been able to examine the painting to see whether it was damaged during the robbery. He says the hotel has posted a security guard and additional surveillance cameras around the works, which are collectively insured at $1 million.

Artist Bradley Theodore at work. Courtesy of Italia Independent.

Artist Bradley Theodore at work. Courtesy of Italia Independent.

The artist has an upcoming show at Chelsea’s ACA Galleries of works on paper that he considers “a little more reasonably priced.” As for the thief, Theodore said, “They should have just waited for the show.”


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