EYE ON ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Longtime local artist Fitz Maurice recently had an experience at
the Triennale Internationale d’Art Contemporain of Paris that was not
It happened at a juried exhibition for which Maurice was
personally chosen to represent the U.S. among 150 different artists
from five continents. The exhibition was held at the Toit de la
Grande Arche -- Paris la Defense -- a well-known French monument.
Maurice’s work has been chosen to represent the U.S. in many
esteemed exhibitions all over the world for the last 12 years, and
although one can’t expect every minute detail to run perfectly --
that’s a given -- Maurice didn’t expect nor was prepared for what
happened at this recent exhibit.
The reason I am writing about it is because Maurice emphatically
expressed that she wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone
“One of my paintings was stolen,” Maurice said. “It happened at
the opening reception and was seen by some of my fellow artists and
guests at the reception at 5 p.m., and I arrived at 5:15 p.m. and it
Fittingly, the name of the painting was “The Gem.” She said her
portfolio was stolen too.
At the exhibit, which will run through Oct. 12, are her other two
large, 4-foot oil paintings. They have been sold for $10,000 each.
Maurice immediately approached the heads of the organization that
sponsored the exhibit.
She said there was a lot of denial that it could happen because of
the 100 video cameras and security everywhere.
“I was shocked that the first response was denial, and they have
maintained a very inhospitable and arrogant attitude about my
painting being stolen, even though I have witnesses,” Maurice said.
They have not made it to the acceptance phase still, even after
the many days and hours of time Maurice has dedicated to get this
It wasn’t until she said that she was going to get some aid from
the American Embassy that they would even begin to listen to her or
see her face to face.
“I have a signed contract with them saying that their insurance
company is responsible,” Maurice said.
After giving her possible scenarios of what might have happened,
and still not taking responsibility, she finally got an utterance to
her face that its insurance company would contact her the next
“They never contacted me again and I had to fly back to the U.S.,”
Maurice said. “Once I got home I felt very violated.
“When it’s something you’ve created and you’ll probably never see
again, it’s a terrible feeling,” she said.
Since she has been working on the problem she resolved that it’s
part of her destiny to learn international art law inside and out.
“So this obstacle has become the way I am supposed to be educated
on this subject,” Maurice said.
“Part of my goal as an artist is ultimately to ensure legal rights
and raise standards for artists around the world,” Maurice said. “Now
that I accepted that I am going to defend myself as an artist I have
more strength to take on this stressful situation.”
“I encourage each artist as they face the obstacle to take it on
and see it as a part of their training and giving back to their
artist community,” Maurice said.
She said that she’s tries to focus on the positive even out of
Maurice has received a lot of help from the Laguna Beach Police
Department and other French entities in trying to get this resolved.
“It doesn’t even sound real, but it’s terribly, horribly real,”
Her studio is at 3251 Laguna Canyon Road, Suite H3 and she can be
reached at 497-2234. Or go to www.fitzmauriceart.com.
Sadness strikes, for it is the last weekend for Laguna Art
Museum’s exhibit “Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing.” There
have been a plethora of films, lectures, happenings and experiences
over the months that were a part of the exhibit -- making it not only
an exhibit but a series. Accolades should go to Bolton Colburn and
all his constituents that made it a world-class exhibition. Don’t
miss out because your last chance is through Sunday. Laguna Art
Museum is at 307 Cliff Drive. For more information, go to
www.lagunaartmuseum.org or call 494-6531.