Did You Hear About the L.A. Art Mystery?

Did You Hear About the L.A. Art Mystery?

I love a good whodunit, but fortunately there's no murder in the story I'm about to share with you--only a missing person or persons of a sort. This Sunday the Los Angeles Times had a front page article about a painting (below) that was part of a set of 16 works in oil created by famed Mexican artist Miguel Cabrera during the 18th century. Though painted in Mexico, some ended up back in Spain but two remained missing until just recently. Here's the fascinating California connection for both of them:

 Miguel Cabrera, "3. From Spaniard and Castiza, Spanish Girl (detail)," 1763 (LACMA).

Miguel Cabrera, "3. From Spaniard and Castiza, Spanish Girl (detail)," 1763 (LACMA).

A retired corporate attorney, descended from a man who made his wealth in mining and would go on to be one of the founders of the city of Santa Monica, discovered one of the artworks in Northern California rolled up UNDER A COUCH! It made headlines in the Times and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) acquired it and put it on display. That's when the owner of the second painting, the portrait of a mother and father with their little girl (as seen in the image above) came to light in an unusual way. He or she sent a typed letter (along with a few snapshots of the artwork) to one of the museum's curators authored in the voice of the little girl in the painting, "Española." "She" even signed the one-way correspondence like a child (and Española has no FB or Insta accounts either to help hunt her down--how very consistently 18th century of her!). Further examination of the anonymous letter revealed that the painting exists somewhere near LACMA, most likely less than two miles away! What?! 

"I am not lost, I just don't want to be found."

This is the quote toward the conclusion of the letter that must be having the LACMA curators and fans of Cabrera's art pulling their hair out!

With a major exhibit of Latin American art about to open there, everyone's wondering if the owner of the final Cabrera painting will surface and share this final work for all to enjoy, or will he/she continue the mystery. We have no choice but to wait and see...

What do you think? Can you identify with the owner and not want to share the painting of Española just yet? Or do you find this not a nice thing to do and that art should be shared with the world? I'd love to read your opinion in the comments below! Read more about the case of the missing Cabrera painting and Mexican & Spanish caste painting here.

(Image by Priyankasudhamany/Instagram)

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