Rig Art: The Oil Drillers

Title: The Oil Drillers  |  Artist: E. Viberg  |  Year: 1965

Readers who have visited the Calgary Petroleum Club may recognize this painting. In 1965, the Club purchased it from local artist E. Viberg, and prominently displayed it in their lobby for a few years; then it mysteriously disappeared.

Club management was at a loss to explain how it could be whisked away without detection. For nearly thirty years, the painting was considered stolen property but in the early 1990s, Rod Thomas, the Club’s GM at the time, received a telephone call from someone claiming to be a friend of an elderly man in poor health. The ailing man was the thief who had stolen the painting in the late ’60s.

No one knows why this man wanted to clear his conscience, but the phone caller expressed his friend’s strong desire to right his wrong by returning it. Mr. Thomas advised the caller that the best option would be to leave it outside the Club’s Plus15 doors and no questions would be asked.