Lucky Find: Clean-up Man Gets Art Treasure from Hoard

Harry Shunk was a recluse and he suffered from hoarding disorder. He also happened to be a part of the avant-garde art scene in the late 20th Century. He worked with some of the greatest artist of his time, but he later became an outcast and he distanced himself from everyone. He moved to New York in the 1970s, and he was completely forgotten by the art world.

Then came Harry Shunk’s death in 2006 in a most tragic manner. He died in his place alone, buried under the immense clutter that he has accumulated throughout the years. His body was found after several days, already in a state of advanced decomposition. The cleaners sent to tidy up the clutter that he has accumulated, did get something good from his hoard. They found art treasures hidden there.

Here is an excerpt from an article by JOHN LELAND that appeared on The New York Times, “At a storage locker in SoHo recently, Mr. Kelly, 56, displayed mementos from his 2006 trip to Mr. Shunk’s apartment: sketches and three-dimensional maquettes by Christo; large-format photographs of the artist Yves Klein directing naked women dabbed in paint; lithographs by Andy Warhol and Paul Jenkins; a menu handwritten by Larry Rivers; museum posters; gallery fliers; magazine clippings; a packet of gold leaf belonging to Mr. Klein.”

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Randolph, New Jersey