Thieves snatch Wyland art worth $700,000 from gallery


POSTED: Tuesday, September 08, 2009

If it was a crime of opportunity, the thieves might not know the value of what was stolen.

A witness said a man grabbed a painting off the wall near the door of the Wyland Galleries Hawaii store on Lewers Street on Sunday night, tossed it into the back of a blue GMC pickup truck with a woman in the driver's seat and sped away.

The original oil painting, titled “;Dolphin Dawn,”; is valued at nearly $700,000, said Bruce Krakauer, an art consultant who was working at the gallery when the theft occurred at 7:20 p.m.

“;It's a classic Wyland,”; Krakauer said. “;It's one of his best.”;

The 4-by-6-foot oil painting in a koa frame features a dolphin, killer whales and colorful reef fish near a waterfall and breaking wave at dawn.

;[Preview]  Thieves Make Off With $700,000 Wyland Painting

A limited edition Koa framed Wyland painting titled Dolphin Dawn was stolen from the Wyland Gallery in Waikiki.

Watch ]


Wyland no longer paints in that style, Krakauer said. The painting is more valuable because the gallery also sells limited-edition prints of it, he said, so it is well known.

The “;keepsake”; prints are advertised for sale between $2,000 and $3,000 on the Wyland Galleries Web site.

“;I don't think they know exactly what they got,”; Krakauer said.

He said the theft happened quickly. A witness saw what happened and notified the gallery, and Krakauer said he called Waikiki Beachwalk security and police, who launched a search for the painting and the getaway truck Sunday night.

Police are looking for a teal or turquoise-blue pickup truck. Krakauer said the witness was able to get most of a license plate number—668Q and the letter C. A middle letter or number was covered by tape, he said.

Wyland is “;very saddened by the loss,”; said Iris Katsura, the gallery director.

The painting was done for the millennium, she said. “;We're hoping somebody helps us (recover the art). He wants the piece back.”;

Wyland is offering a reward of $2,000, or he will create an original Chinese brush painting for anyone who helps recover the artwork.