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Former Jasper Johns Studio Assistant Pleads Guilty to Selling Stolen Works

Jasper Johns. Untitled. 2013

Jasper Johns, Untitled, 2013, from his 2014 show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, ‘Regrets.’

PHOTO: JERRY THOMPSON; ART: ©JASPER JOHNS/LICENSED BY VAGA, NEW YORK, NY/THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK/PROMISED GIFT FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

James Meyer, a former studio assistant to Jasper Johns, pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court in the sale of 22 works that he stole from his boss’s studio. Meyer worked for Johns for over 25 years, maintaining a studio file of unfinished works and works not authorized to be sold.

Between September 2006 and February 2012, Meyer stole 22 works from the file, “and from elsewhere in Johns’ studio,” according to a release from the office of Preet Bahara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Meyer sold these works to a Manhattan gallery, unnamed in the indictment, claiming they were gifts to him from Johns. The dealer then sold these works, making a total of $6.5 million, about half of which went directly to Meyer.

He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Sentencing will take place in December.

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