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Stolen artwork missing for over a year returns to SLO contemporary art gallery

Danielle Eubanks Antarctica 1
Danielle Eubank
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Danielle Eubank's Antarctica I, oil on linen, 42x60 inches

It took Danielle Eubank twenty years to sail around the world and capture the beauty of water. She documented her expedition by painting the world’s oceans.

When her work was stolen in an instant, she was confused.

“How would you take these two five foot long paintings out and not be seen by anybody? It's pretty incredible, a pretty incredible story,” Eubank said.

The award-winning artist says she began her work, One Artist Five Oceans, after a bike accident in the south of Spain. During her recovery, she sat on the beach and painted.

Danielle Eubank Antarctica 2
Danielle Eubank
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Danielle Eubank, Antarctica II, oil on linen, 42x60 inches

“It was just me and some canvas and some paint for months on end. Just kind of sitting by myself on the key looking at the waves and that's how I really started to paint water,” Eubank said.

She went on to illustrate the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern oceans. Eubank was set to premier the series at the Edna Contemporary Art Gallery in the summer of 2021. Then the paintings were stolen.

The owner of Edna Contemporary, Sheryl Chestnut, said the paintings were taken out of her truck.

“I think someone saw me really working to lock the back of the truck and thought there must be something very valuable back there. They were wrapped in blankets. They weren't visible,” Chestnut said.

The paintings were missing for over a year. But a couple weeks ago, Chestnut received a phone call from a young woman who said she found the art.

“They said I don't want to go down for this or anything, but I have some artwork that I think was stolen,” Chestnut said.

Chestnut said she asked the young woman to send a photo of the paintings for verification and there it was – Eubank’s large oil on linen, Antarctica I and II paintings. Chestnut drove 40 minutes just to get them back.

“They still had the plastic edge wrapping on it. They were a little dirty, but it was just weird honestly,” Chestnut said.

Now, the show is back on. The paintings will premiere November 5 in Downtown SLO’s Edna Contemporary Art Gallery.

Gabriela Fernandez is a general assignment reporter at KCBX News. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an Associate Producer on the TahoeLand podcast.