Seven giant pieces of art worth more than $40,000 are missing from Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa, and no one can find them.
“Where they have been moved from 2002 to 2016 is a mystery,” Director of Property Management Corie Bauman told the Jackson Hole News&Guide. “We certainly hope we would notice if someone walked out of the hotel with a 40-by-60 piece of artwork.”
The photography was on loan from two artists and went missing sometime in the last 12 years, Bauman said.
“They’ve been in various places in the resort,” Bauman said. “No proper inventory was taken.”
The art was discovered missing recently when a gallery’s art representative visited.
“He walked through the entire hotel and said four pieces are missing,” Bauman said. That included only the pieces that particular gallery had on loan. Employees would later learn three additional pieces were also missing.
Teton Mountain Lodge was the object of a sizable remodel in 2015, Bauman said. The art could have been “misplaced” or moved then, but no one can find them.
“We’ve looked high and low,” Bauman said. “I would love it if they turned up. That would be absolutely amazing.”
Four of the missing pieces are by Bradley Washburn Photography. The owner, a gallery out of Massachusetts, was reimbursed by the hotel’s insurance company. The hotel didn’t want bad blood with the artists or the gallery.
“We value that relationship,” Bauman said.
The lodge is even signing a new lease with the gallery for artwork for a couple more years, she said.
The other missing pieces were by Gifford Ewing, a Colorado artist.
“It’s weird and unfortunate,” Ewing said. “I hope they enjoy it, whoever has it.”
Lodge employees don’t believe someone could have just walked out with the art because the missing photos are big.
“It couldn’t be just lifted off the wall,” Teton Mountain Lodge General Manager Tyler Barker told the News&Guide. “It’s a head scratcher.”
“Two of them are 16 by 20 and the rest are 40 by 60,” Bauman said. “They were framed. We are all perplexed.”
Many staff changes have been made over the course of the last decade.
“The prior owners have been cooperative but no one can put their fingers on it,” Barker said.
“We didn’t have a project manager accounting for corridor art,” Bauman said. “It’s a big gray area, unfortunately.”
The hotel filed a police report and its insurance is covering the cost of the art, but the lodge “is out some money,” Bauman said.
“What we understand is this art went into storage two and a half years ago and then the art was re-hung,” Barker said.
But no one can recall where or when the art was last seen.
The art was on loan under a “friendly handshake” agreement in order to sell the art, Barker believes.
“We can’t find shipping documents. We actually don’t know if the pieces were ever here,” he said. “We certainly felt responsible. We didn’t want the gallery to suffer a loss.”
In total, $44,400 worth of professional photography is missing.
The art is black-and-white photography of outdoor scenes in and around Jackson Hole, including photos taken in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks of wildlife and climbing routes.
Although no one can say for sure what happened, it’s being investigated as a stolen property case by the Teton County Sheriff’s Office. Detectives have no suspects.