San Francisco

Video: Madrone Art Bar seeks thief who swiped artwork from its walls

Around 1:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, just before last call at Divisadero's Madrone Art Bar, an unidentified thief walked out of the bar with original artwork from its walls. Now, the bar is seeking the public's help in finding the culprit, and the purloined pictures. 

The stolen work is by artist Vivienne Scholl, whose photography exhibition, "Parked Portraits," is currently on display at the bar's gallery space.

Madrone owner Spike Krouse, an artist in his own right, confirmed to Hoodline that the work had been stolen. It's roughly 12" x 12", with a value of $195.

"I guess it's flattering that the guy liked it enough to steal it," Krouse said. "[But] the people-behaving-badly thing is just getting out of hand."

Krouse said there were no solid leads on the culprit to date. But he does have footage, taken from the bar's security camera, that shows the thief in action.

The culprit in action. | Footage: Courtesy of Madrone Art Bar

Scholl, who first alerted Hoodline to the theft, is a graphic designer and owns a small local branding agency. According to her artist's statement, her show is "a collective portrait of the creative people who live [in San Francisco], of how they think, what they value and how they imprint their identities on their environment."

Krouse said that while it's not unprecedented, an art theft has only happened once before in Madrone's 15 years of operation.

In that case, he said, someone recognized the culprit from security footage, and he was able to track down the suspect's phone number. He called the thief to tell them to bring the art back, which they did.

"And then I told them I never wanted to see them in my bar again," Krouse said. 

One of the stolen pieces from the show. | photo: Vivienne Scholl/courtesy of Madrone Art Bar

Anyone who recognizes the thief or has a lead on the missing artwork is asked to contact Madrone with information at art [at] madroneartbar [dot] com.

For those who'd like to see the other artworks in Scholl's show, it will remain on display at Madrone through the end of June.

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