Last week, a Bowdoin student’s painting that had been missing for over a year and a half was returned to its rightful owner.

During the 2012 fall semester, Dana Hopkins ’14 painted a master copy of Georgia O’Keefe’s “Red Canna” for her Painting I class.

“It probably took me about 30 hours to copy it to a stage where I felt comfortable with it,” said Hopkins.

Students in the Painting I classes had their best pieces put on display in an open gallery in the third floor of the Visual Arts Center (VAC).

“Each of us had five to seven paintings in there and there were 12 to 15 of us in that class, so there were a lot of paintings,” said Hopkins

But when Hopkins came to pick up her artwork last December when the exhibit was ending, her master copy of the O’Keefe painting was gone.

“It was the only one that wasn’t there,” said Hopkins. “None of my other stuff was gone so I didn’t really think it was a personal vendetta.”

After Hopkins searched the building, she contacted the Office of Safety and Security about locating the painting.

“At that time, there hadn’t been any cameras around the VAC that actually worked,” said Hopkins. “Randy Nichols was super nice about it and called the Brunswick Police.”

Despite emails from security to students and an article in the Bangor Daily News publicizing the apparent heist, nothing was found.

“I had pretty much given up hope after a month or two. My best guess was someone took it for whatever reason—for aesthetic purposes,” said Hopkins. “My dad likes to say that they were trying to sell it.”

But after a year and a half, Hopkins’ painting showed up last week when a staff member was packing up some of the remaining art supplies in the VAC to move them to the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance.

“[A technician] for Edwards put it with my senior studio stuff and I walked into the room and I was like ‘What?’” said Hopkins. “It was a really nice surprise. I really have no clue what happened or how to find out about it.”

As for who might have been the perpetrator of the theft, Hopkins has her own opinion.

“I feel pretty confident that someone took it and returned it at a separate time just because nothing else was moved from the room; none of my other work was taken, no one else’s work was taken; nothing else was out of place,” said Hopkins. “It was very strange.”