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Two Maxfield Parrish Murals Stolen

August 1, 2002

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) _ Two murals by renowned American painter Maxfield Parrish, valued at $2 million each, were stolen from a gallery, authorities said.

The paintings, measuring 5 feet by 6 feet, were believed taken from the Edenhurst Fine Art Gallery in West Hollywood sometime Monday, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Neill Murchison said Wednesday. He declined to disclose other details.

The oil paintings were being offered for sale through the gallery and were part of a collection of six. They are known as the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney murals, named for their former owner.

Dubbed panel 3A and 3B, they depict two couples and an urn set against the backdrop of the Colorado mountains.

``They’re nearly national treasures,″ said Houston-based art collector J.P. Bryan, who was selling them.

Gallery attorney Tom Nunziato said sheriff’s investigators told him the theft had to have been the work of professionals. Alma Gilbert, a Parrish expert and curator of the Cornish Colony Museum in New Hampshire, said carting the paintings away would have been no easy task.

``This is unprecedented; you would need a moving truck and four people,″ Gilbert said.

Parrish, one of the most widely reproduced artists in the world, is known for his use of bright colors, including what has come to be known as Maxfield Parrish Blue. Works by the Pennsylvania native, who died in 1966 at age 95, have been exhibited worldwide.

Bryan said he chose to sell the paintings in the Los Angeles area because it contains an active community of Parrish collectors.

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