I have written several times about William M.V. Kingsland, a well-known New York City genealogist. You can read my earlier articles here, here and here. It seems that Mr. Kingsland was more than a genealogist; he was also an art thief. Now the FBI is trying to find the rightful owners.
William Kingsland was not even his given name — he was born Melvyn Kohn and spent his early years in the Bronx before legally changing his name to Kingsland. He thought it had a more literary sound to it and would help him gain acceptance among Manhattan's upper crust.
On a bizarre side note, a mover hired by the public administrator's office to transport the contents of Kingsland's apartment to a warehouse was charged with stealing two Picasso sketches, each valued at approximately $30,000. And, it turns out that was not the first time those two sketches had been stolen…sometime before they ended up in Kingsland's collection they were stolen from a New York art gallery around 1967.
Some of the works of art, recovered in 2006 from the Kingsland apartment and believed to have been stolen during the 1960s–1970s are posted on the FBI's website at http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/arttheft/northamerica/us/kingsland/kingsland.htm. Anyone having information on the provenance, acquisition or ownership of any work of art from the collection shown there — or those who want to make a claim — should contact Agent James Wynne at 718-286-7302 or at James.Wynne@ic.fbi.gov .