Makeup Artist Arrested for Theft of Paintings Worth $1.4 Million

The New Orleans woman says she just wanted to photograph the 14 paintings.

Pat Travigno, Domino Theory. 14 paintings by Travigno, not including this one, were involved in a theft this week. Image courtesy New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc.
Pat Travigno, Domino Theory. 14 paintings by Travigno, not including this one, were involved in a theft this week. Image courtesy New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc.

A New Orleans makeup artist was arrested on Wednesday for the theft of $1.4 million worth of artwork, taken from the home of the widow of painter and Tulane University professor, Pat Trivigno.

Eva Trivigno was in the process of selling her uptown New Orleans home, and had been sorting through her late husband’s work to decide what should be kept, donated, or sold. She left the home empty on Tuesday night, and when she returned on Wednesday, 14 paintings had gone missing, the New Orleans Advocate reports.

On Wednesday evening, the homeowner called the police to report the theft. Upon arriving, officers peeked through a window into her guesthouse, which she had been renting to makeup artist Courtney Lether for almost five years. They spied one of Trivigno’s paintings thinly-concealed under a bedsheet.

Searching the guesthouse, they found the paintings, along with assorted personal belongings including rugs, gold goblets, used paintbrushes, and a family Bible.

Courtney Lether. Image courtesy Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

Courtney Lether. Image courtesy Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Lether was subsequently arrested on one count of theft and one count of exploitation of the infirmed. According to the Times-Picayne, the 72-year-old Trivigno is moving into an apartment in an assisted living facility.

The makeup artist—whose IMDB page cites her work on television shows and movies like NCIS: New Orleans, Jurassic World, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn—told police she had taken the paintings to photograph them for a personal photo book. The self-described “pisces,” “dreamer,” “lover,” “unicorn,” and “Ginja sith lord,” indeed posted an image of a simple watercolor portrait of the artist with two sleeves of lifesaver candies to Instagram on Wednedsay.

After being released from custody on Thursday morning, she was ordered to take a drug test, and issued a protective order preventing contact with her landlady.

“She was a close friend of mine. She was a close friend of Pat’s. She was actually more like a daughter,” Trivigno told the Advocate, calling the incident “such a disappointment.”


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