Tri-County Vanguard

Digby RCMP investigat­ing theft of two Maud Lewis paintings


“Most of the people around here are quite honest. They respect what I did and they respect Maud too.” Murray Ross

The value of Maud Lewis paintings is well known to collectors, but this has made their worth tempting to others as well, and not in a good way.

The RCMP released informatio­n in late December saying that on Sept. 10, they had received a complaint of two Maud Lewis paintings having been stolen from a home in Smiths Cove, Digby County.

The RCMP said they have learned that the paintings were valued at over $20,000 each.

“No other items were stolen from the home,” reads a Dec. 20 media release about the thefts.

While the RCMP media release came months after the theft, the RCMP have been investigat­ing the matter since the time it was first reported.

RCMP Cpl. Lisa Croteau says police have followed up on informatio­n and leads as they were received. However, the RCMP had not been able to locate the thief(s) to date.

“Digby RCMP wanted to appeal to the public for informatio­n relating to these two paintings,” she says.

For those with Maud Lewis paintings, or any other valuable items in their home, Cpl. Croteau shares the following recommenda­tions.

“If anyone has valuable paintings or artifacts, any kind of valuable items, make sure they are insured and that you lock your home when you the house unattended,” she says. “If you’re away for any period of time, have someone check on the home for you to make sure that it is still secured. An alarm system is well is a good idea.”

Chad Brown, a Maud Lewis art collector, has similar advice.

“It’s no surprise, there are thousands of paintings sitting around in people’s homes across Nova Scotia and prices have shot up,” he says, speculatin­g even family members could be responsibl­e for thefts such as these.

“They know who has them and where they are located in a house,” he says. “But who knows, it could have been anyone who knew they were there.”

“Best advice is to add valuables to your home insurance policy, or at the very least, have cameras,” he says. “Take lots of photos and check social media for someone trying to sell them.”

Brown, who does not live in Digby County but is an avid Maud Lewis art and memorabili­a collector, says at times it can be unnerving having Maud Lewis art because it is so valuable.

“The last two paintings I sold . . . were both for $40,000, and even I get nervous driving to the gallery or having them in my house,” he says. “All you can do is have lots of good quality cameras. I hope they find who did this.”

Years ago, Digby County resident Murray Ross built a replica Maud

Lewis house, which is located about six to eight kilometres away from where Maud and Everett Lewis’s house used to be in Marshallto­wn. The replica house is a tourism attraction in Digby County, which has many visitors stopping in to visit each year.

He says he’s never had any trouble with thievery of his memorabili­a.

“Most of the people around here are quite honest,” he says. “They respect what I did and they respect Maud too.”

A Maud Lewis painting recently made the news after a big bid at a western N.S. auction house. In November, a Maud Lewis painting, ‘Sandy Cove in Fall’, sold at auction for $45,500 – a new record hammer price set at Bezanson Auctioneer­ing in Victoria Vale, Annapolis County. The painting shows St. Mary’s Bay with mainland Nova Scotia in the background.

“It was a shock for a little auction house like us to get to that amount,” said Laurie Bezanson at the time, who runs Bezanson Auctioneer­ing with her husband Rick.

Meanwhile, the RCMP is asking anyone with informatio­n on the theft of the two paintings to contact the Digby RCMP at 902-2452579. Those wanting to remain anonymous can call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestopp­ers., or use the P3 Tips App.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO BY RCMP ?? One of two Maud Lewis paintings reported stolen on September 10, from a home in Smiths Cove. The paintings are valued at over $20,000 each.
CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO BY RCMP One of two Maud Lewis paintings reported stolen on September 10, from a home in Smiths Cove. The paintings are valued at over $20,000 each.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada