Jasper Johns’s Former Assistant Sentenced to 18 Months In Prison for Stealing Paintings

James Meyer sold the paintings for a total of $6.5 million.

Jasper Johns, Flag (1983). Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.


James Meyer, a former assistant to iconic American artist Jasper Johns, was sentenced in federal court in Manhattan to 18 months in prison today following his admission this past summer that he stole works from the artist’s Connecticut studio and sold them through New York galleries (see How to Steal $6.5 Million in Art From Jasper Johns and Jasper Johns’s Assistant Pleads Guilty to Stealing Paintings).

Meyer, of Salisbury, Connecticut, worked as an assistant to Johns for 25 years, and stole the works over the course of a six-year period, from 2006 to 2012. He admitted to stealing 22 works from Johns, all of which were unfinished pieces that the artist had not authorized for sale. Meyer sold them for a total of $6.5 million, and pocketed half of the proceeds.

Prosecutors charged that he provided the galleries with fictitious authentication papers. According to our earlier reporting, Meyer agreed to forfeit up to $4 million, and he could have received as much as four years in jail. Though he was himself a failed artist, according to reports, he began showing signs of seemingly newfound wealth around 2007, including moving to a more expensive home and purchasing several new cars and motorcycles as well as a sailboat.

Meyer pleaded guilty to interstate transportation of stolen goods. (See Alleged Art Swindler Luke Brugnara Threatens Judge With Retribution and John McEnroe Prevails in Court Amid Continued Salander Fallout).




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