Updated:
Original:

Trove of Native American Art Found in Former Meth Lab in Albuquerque

What were these 72 prints by Al Momaday, in good condition and worth about $33,000, doing in a condemned building?
Author:

Seventy-two prints by the late Kiowa artist Al Momaday have turned up in a condemned apartment building in Albuquerque's Northeast Heights.

Finding a box of valuable art said to be worth $33,000 in a former methamphetamine lab is strange enough, but the nature of the box's contents is also unusual. The 72 prints are of just four images, which may be a clue that they were stolen rather than purchased. 

"It's so suspicious," Andrew Conners, curator at the Albuquerque Museum of Art, told KOB Eyewitness News. "It's such a strange thing; it's not somebody selling a print at a yard sale. They have the full printed edition here. ... These came out of a gallery or an art distributor, or maybe the artist's estate itself, because most collectors don't collect more than one of each impression."

Al Momaday, who died in 1981, was the father of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist N. Scott Momaday. The writer's assistant, Michael Meeches, said that in mid-December they noticed some things, a computer and possibly some art, had gone missing from a storage unit. "The thing is, he had a vast amount of work and we don’t know what is missing," Meeches told the Albuquerque Journal. "We had paintings in a filing cabinet and boxes of prints of his work and his father’s work."

Image source: KOB.com

Image source: KOB.com

Image source: KOB.com

Image source: KOB.com

Image source: KOB.com