$10K Art Collection Vandalized, Pieces Stolen
Fox Point police are investigating a theft of 10 watercolor paintings created by renowned local artist, Paul F. Hammersmith.
Police are searching for suspects after a Fox Point woman reported that a $10,000 art collection in her home was vandalized when someone tore out and stole 10 watercolors from a sketchbook crafted by a well-known artist.
She went to the Fox Point Police Department on Oct. 8, according to a police report, and told officers that sometime between the summer of 2011 and Sept. 10, 2012, 10 watercolor sketches were stolen. But these aren't just a casual art creation, these watercolors were painted by Paul F. Hammersmith, a renowned local artist who painted them during the late 1890s and 1900s. Hammersmith produced sketches and watercolors of many well-known locations in Southeastern Wisconsin like Donges Bay Beach, bridges in Cedarburg, Estabrook Park, fishing piers on Jones Island and more.
The stolen watercolors were completed in the late 1890s and early 1900s and are of landscapes and marine scenes. The watercolors were part of a sketch book. Completed watercolors would have been titled, then signed by the artist as “P Hammersmith” or “PH,” and dated with the month and year. Any unfinished watercolors would most likely not be titled or signed, the police report said.
Fox Point police inspected the watercolor book and found that some of the missing pages were cut out with a scissors and others were torn out. Intact, the book should have had 20 pages, with an estimated value of $10,000.
The homeowner told police she knows for sure she saw the watercolors in the summer of 2011. In January 2012, she showed the collection to a gallery owner and believes the book was intact, however, she told police she isn't positive. On Sept. 10, 2012, while showing the collection to family members visiting from Texas, she discovered the missing watercolors.
Police interviewed the only person the homeowner said would have possibly had access to the art, however, that suspect denied taking any of the paintings. Officers also checked local art galleries, eBay and Craigslist for anyone possibly attempting to sell the art but found nothing.
Police are still investigating.