Artist devastated by theft of prized painting from Edmonton arts co-operative

·2 min read

An Edmonton artist was so devastated by the theft of one of her most cherished pieces of artwork that she ended up in hospital suffering heart issues.

Michael Victoria Moore was admitted to the University of Alberta Hospital on Monday after learning one of her paintings was among several stolen from ArtsHub 118, an affordable housing co-op for artists located above the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.

Nine pieces of art were stolen from the Alberta Avenue-area facility either Sunday night or early Monday morning. Moore heard about it on Monday when someone contacted her at work, she said.

"My heart broke, my heart literally broke," the 65-year-old said Thursday, before being released from hospital.

Moore had spent years working on the painting, which depicted Archangel Michael, and it has tremendous sentimental value. She said she started crying uncontrollably when she found out about the theft.

"I had a heart event, they call it a broken-heart heart attack," she said. "My heart swelled so much in pain that I caused myself a heart attack."

She said doctors at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute have told her she will make a full recovery but the pain of losing her work runs deep.

"I learned something, I have very powerful emotions," she said. "But I don't want to ever experience that again.

"I hurt."

Submitted by Michael Victoria Moore
Submitted by Michael Victoria Moore

The "very big and beautiful" oil-on-canvas painting, which had been on display in a hallway at ArtsHub 118, measured four feet by six feet and was titled Reverence, she said.

Moore doesn't know the monetary value of the painting and said it's unlikely she would have ever parted with it.

She doubts the thieves have any idea of its worth.

"I feel it was just a bunch of goons, I don't know, maybe I'm wrong," she said. "I don't know that they would actually know the value."

Moore and her family are trying to get the word out in hopes the painting will be returned.

"We just thought that if you saw this painting you'd never forget and you'd be able to tell me where it was and we would have it back some day," she said.

Submitted by Michael Victoria Moore
Submitted by Michael Victoria Moore

There are no security cameras in the building but Moore said they're checking with nearby businesses to see if they might have footage of the thieves.

Edmonton police said the theft has been reported and an investigation launched.