Remember Mark Lugo? He was a Hoboken sommelier who walked into a San Francisco art gallery and walked out with a Picasso. He pulled it from the wall without gallery assistance. Apparently they frown on that. After his capture, police searched Lugo’s Hoboken apartment and discovered an art collection worth more than $350,000.00.
While Lugo acquired most of his collection from hotel and gallery walls in New York, it was the San Francisco theft that captured the nation’s attention. Ask a Kardashian what affect fame has on price. The purloined Picasso has soared in value. One bidder offered $100,000.00 more than the gallery posted.
The Picasso was back on display last Monday at the Weinstein gallery but its owner has no intention to sell it. The stolen piece is worth more on the gallery wall than it is as a sales item. Since the Lugo Affair, foot traffic has risen dramatically.
“Every single solitary day, at least 10 people come into the gallery asking where the Picasso is,” the gallery president said. “It’s become such an important part, not just of our story, but I think the story of artwork in San Francisco.”
Despite a string of theft and incarceration, Mark Lugo has unwittingly become a patron of the arts, a designation he’d likely embrace.