One of the four versions was stolen on 4 September 1989 in Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace and has since disappeared without a trace. The insurance value is estimated one Million Euros.
Four versions of Spitzwegs's "Poor Poet"
Art robbery as art performance: Ulay steals the painting from the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin
This fourth version was stolen from the performance artist Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) as part of a spectacular art performance for several hours in 1976. A friend accompanied him and filmed the robbery. In one scene you can see the robbery, the escape and how he hangs the picture in the apartment of a Turkish guest worker family on the wall in Berlin Kreuzberg. After this performance, he called the police and gave the painting back without resistance.
Sentenced for theft, he should choose between money or imprisonment. The impecunious artist fled abroad and was arrested two years later at trial entry on the German border. A friend and patron of the arts paid the outstanding sum. Ulay was set free. The action is documented under www.medienkunstnetz.de .
Lost Spitzweg's painting "The Poor Poet" and "The Love Letter" to this day: Another art theft at Charlottenburg Palace
On that beautiful autumn day in September 1989, two visitors are entering the Charlottenburg Palace. One with a wheelchair (with the label 'No problem'), the other as his supervisor. They are mingling with the visitors. Suddenly the man in the wheelchair stands up, pounces on to the images on the wall, tores down the paintings "The Poor Poet" and "Love Letter" from Carl Spitzweg from the wall and carries them with his comrade under tumultuous scenes out of the building. Two guards were put down like in an American Football game. The Museum Director offers for the return $ 50,000 to catch the perpetrators with the two stolen paintings - in vain: Both paintings have since disappeared.