Artist claims his paintings are being held hostage

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PHOENIX -- A Valley artist says he's having problems getting some of his artwork returned from a gallery.

It's pretty common for artists to loan out some of their artwork. When they loan out their artwork, they stand a pretty good chance of getting it displayed and, more importantly, getting it sold.

But one artist says after nearly a year, he just wants his artwork back but claims the gallery owner is not being very helpful.

3 On Your Side tried numerous times to speak with Paulina Miller over the telephone, but eventually 3 On Your Side had no choice but to confront her in person.

"I don't have time, I really have to prepare a document here so I will appreciate if you call this to an end," Miller said.

Kurt von Behrmann says he's been trying to put the issue to an end for months now.

"I just can't get an answer," he said. "I don't know when I can get them back."

von Behrmann is an artist and he's talking about several pieces of his artwork. Nearly a year ago, von Behrmann says he loaned several of his prized possessions to Miller, who owns the Paulina Miller Gallery here in the Valley.

"I received a phone call from the Paulina Miller Gallery and they said they were going to have pieces for a hotel and they wanted pieces for the hotel, the Sheraton, and asked me to bring some pieces down," he said.

von Behrmann thought it was a great idea and after handing over four of his paintings to Miller, her gallery displayed them at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Phoenix.

von Behrmann says he'd like to have his artwork back but claims he's getting absolutely no help from Miller and her gallery.

"I feel like my pieces are being held hostage and I'm trying to liberate my pieces from the wall," he said.

3 On Your Side tried several times to speak with Miller over the telephone, but when that didn't work 3 On Your Side showed up to find out what was going on

"Yes, that's his problem not mine" Miller said.

Well, after talking to Miller a little more, she finally agreed to get the paintings from the hotel and return them to von Behrmann.

"They should be here within half an hour," Miller said.

They were in fact returned.

von Behrmann says he's been trying for months to get his paintings returned, but it took 3 On Your Side to make things right.

"It just took months and months so I'm really, really thankful to 3 On Your Side for bringing them back," von Behrmann said. "I couldn't be more grateful."

The Sheraton is not to blame here. This agreement was between von Behrmann and the Paulina Miller Gallery.

The hotel says it always wanted to return the artwork, but it was up to the gallery to make that happen.