Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Art: FBI Locates Lost Treasures and Returns Them to Poland

FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson inspects “Boy with Peacock Feather” by late Polish artist Hanna “Kali” Weynerowska prior to packaging and shipment. 

FBI San Francisco 
Peter D. Lee

FBI Locates Lost Treasures and Returns Them to Poland (with photos)
FBI agents from the San Francisco Field Office returned 75 lost paintings that are considered cultural artifacts and national treasures to Poland’s Ministry of Culture yesterday.
“The FBI is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Polish counterparts in ensuring safe passage of these lost national treasures,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the San Francisco Field Office. “Preserving our past is priceless, and we were honored to be a part of this quest to get these paintings finally home.”

Hanna Weynerowska, also known as “Kali” in her association with the Polish Underground Resistance during World War II, was a career artist. Following the war, she returned to painting and traveled the world until she immigrated to San Francisco. In 1998, Weynerowska died, but her paintings were being pursued by a museum custodian, but the transfer never occurred.

Recently, the paintings were located in a storage facility under safe keeping by a member of Weynerowska’s family. The paintings will be housed and displayed at The Polish Museum in Rapperswil, Switzerland.
Notably, “Boy on Donkey,” “Boy with Rooster,” “Pacheco Pass,” “Rafaelito,” “The Cobbler,” and “Walking a Bird” were among the 75 paintings returned.

“This is a great example of what the FBI’s Legal Attaché program is about—trying to do what we can anywhere in the world,” said FBI Legal Attaché Monika Wasiewicz, who is assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. “Today, the FBI was fortunate enough to assist Poland, her people, and our partners.”
This investigation was conducted by the FBI San Francisco Field Office and FBI Legal Attaché Office in Warsaw.