On this day in art history, Timmy McDougal’s painting The Two-Faced Smoker was stolen from the Vancouver Institute of Art. Three weeks later, a ransom note would be mailed to the Canadian government, demanding a million Canadian dollars be paid for the return of the painting. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau responded with a televised speech in which he announced, “The check is in the mail.” However, the painting was never returned. When asked to speculate as to why, Trudeau shrugged and said, “We sent the money. Perhaps the envelope was misplaced.”
The Two-Faced Smoker remains a lost piece of art.