Thirty-one-year-old Mark Lugo of Hoboken, N.J., was arrested Wednesday at a hotel in Napa. The drawing, valued at $275,000, was recovered without its frame.
Authorities say surveillance video from a nearby restaurant showed a man matching Lugo's description carrying a piece of framed artwork under his arm. Witnesses say he fled into a waiting taxi.
The art was taken from the Weinstein Gallery in Union Square. A spokesman says the thief made off with a 1965 pencil on paper drawing titled "Tete de Femme" that was recently bought at an auction.
Investigators believe Lugo was working alone and was planning to ship the artwork to an unknown party.
Lugo has been booked on burglary, grand theft and drug charges, and his bail is $5 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this story