Goshen artist believes Ellen DeGeneres portrait was stolen

A 91-year-old Goshen artist says a painting she made of comedian Ellen DeGeneres was stolen.

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on June 14, 2013 at 4:28 p.m.

GOSHEN — Frances Peers’ home is like an art gallery.

Paintings are thoughtfully hung on walls. A plaster bust of actor Bob Hope and small sculptures of dancers, mermaids and other bronze figures line shelves in her living room. But one piece of art the 91-year-old Goshen resident may never see again is a portrait she painted last year of comedian Ellen DeGeneres.

Working from a magazine photo of DeGeneres, Peers spent more than a month sketching and painting a portrait for the talk show host’s birthday.

“She has beautiful blue eyes, absolutely beautiful,” said Peers, a talented artist who worked for the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Fla., for 13 years.

Peers mailed the portrait to the studio in Burbank, Calif., where the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is taped, but months passed and she never heard about it again. That is until late October, when Peers was watching the show while in the hospital with a broken hip.

“I was watching, and there was a woman in white with her back to the TV camera, and she was accepting thanks for the picture that I had painted,” Peers said, convinced that the woman had stolen the portrait. “There were two other patients in the room with me, and they saw the same thing. I couldn’t believe it.”

Peers doesn’t remember much about the episode — the date it aired, who the special guest was or anything else.

“I was so mad, I couldn’t keep watching it,” she said. “I was ready to punch the screen. I was so upset about that. I was ready to jump up and never come down.”

In a yellow file folder, Peers keeps the postal receipt from when she mailed the painting and rough drafts of letters she has sent to DeGeneres’ fan mail address about the portrait.

“I never got anywhere,” said Peers, who mailed her last letter May 8. “I don’t expect to get paid for the painting. That’s not why I did this. I don’t want to be flown out to the show or even mentioned. A letter would be nice, some acknowledgement.”

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