Susanne Bartsch Reclaims Stolen Photograph of Madonna

Bartsch used Instagram to convince the thief to return the photo.

Susanne Bartsch== A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk== The Museum at FIT, NYC== September 12, 2013== ©Patrick McMullan== Photo - Patrick McMullan/PatrickMcMullan.com== ==

We don’t recommend messing with Susanne Bartsch, but if you do, the nightlife legend can be surprisingly merciful. In a story that unfolded in two posts on her Instagram account, Bartsch successfully procured a photograph of Madonna that was allegedly stolen from her at a recent event.

Bartsch, who is well-known for her dynamic and flamboyant nightlife presence during the late ’80s, was helping out her ex-husband, David Barton, at the inaugural party of his latest New York gym, TMPL. The “queen of the scene,” as Bartsch is known, lent Barton a rare photographic print of Madonna, taken by Herb Ritts‘s for the cover of Interview Magazines June 1990 issue, for the occasion, but when the event was over, the photo was gone.

“WANTED!” Bartsch’s Instagram post reads. “Bring ESTHER back to TMPL.” For those wondering, Esther, which is a derivative of the Persian name Satarah or “star,” is the Hebrew name that Madonna adopted in 2004 as part of her explorations of Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism.

“The opening party was so fabulous that a patron mistook this piece of lobby art for a parting gift,” Bartsch wrote, before threatening to take video footage from the evening to the NYPD if the responsible party didn’t return the photograph within the week.

On Friday, Bartsch posted a triumphant update to the story, letting the public know that the historic image had been returned safe and sound: “I know who you are,” the post reads, “good karma is yours baby…”

Currently, Bartsch, who hopes to Kickstart funds for a documentary about her life and work, is working on two books and a cosmetics venture with MAC. “I’m in the middle of reinventing myself,” she told Vogue earlier this month. “I always do that.”


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