Originally created 03/06/03

Expensive sketch stolen from lobby of jail



NEW YORK -- A sketch drawn by Surrealist artist Salvador Dali for a former Correction Department commissioner was stolen from the lobby of the men's jail at Rikers Island, officials said.

Workers discovered it was missing Saturday from a locked display case. The framed sketch, which depicts Jesus Christ on the cross, had been replaced by a copy of the drawing.

"It's a great mystery at this point," Corrections Department spokesman Tom Antenen told The New York Times in Sunday's editions.

A 1985 appraisal concluded that the work was worth at least $175,000, Antenen said, but an art expert told the Times in 2001 that it was worth at least three times that amount.

Dali drew the sketch in 1965 as a favor to then-commissioner Anna Moscowitz Kross. It was displayed in the jail's dining room for 16 years before being moved to the lobby.

Antenen said the copy would hang in the display case for the near future. He said the department would investigate.