Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft

by Simon Houpt, Julian Radcliffe
     
 

The true story behind the blank spaces on the museum walls.

What kind of person would dare to steal a legendary painting—and who would buy something so instantly recognizable? In recent years, art theft has captured the public imagination more than ever before, spurred by both real life incidents (the snatching of Edvard Munch

Overview

The true story behind the blank spaces on the museum walls.

What kind of person would dare to steal a legendary painting—and who would buy something so instantly recognizable? In recent years, art theft has captured the public imagination more than ever before, spurred by both real life incidents (the snatching of Edvard Munch’s well-known masterwork The Scream) and the glamorous fantasy of such Hollywood films as The Thomas Crown Affair. The truth is, according to INTERPOL records, more than 20,000 stolen works of art are missing—including Rembrandts, Renoirs, van Goghs, and Picassos.

Museum of the Missing offers an intriguing tour through the underworld of art theft, where the stakes are high and passions run strong. Not only is the volume beautifully written and lavishly illustrated—if all the paintings presented here could be gathered in one museum it would be one of the finest collections in existence—it tells a story as fascinating as any crime novel.

This gripping page-turner features everything from wartime plundering to audacious modern-day heists, from an examination of the criminals’ motivations to a look at the professionals who spend their lives hunting down the wrongdoers. Most breathtaking of all, this invaluable resource offers a “Gallery of Missing Art,” an extensive section showcasing stolen paintings that remain lost—including information about the theft and estimated present-day value—and which may never be seen again.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Houpt is best known for his vibrant arts and culture column in Canada's Globe and Mail. This his first book-length production explores the subject of art theft and its multivalent consequences, from its historical and ethical implications to the complexity of post-recovery restorations. It is one of the first books to cut such a wide and incisive swath across the subject, addressing everything from wartime looting and collector-initiated heists to the motivations behind other historically documented cases of art larceny. Each chapter contains three to four full-page, illustrated features that highlight thefts of exceptional infamy, profile the detectives and agencies working on art crimes, or provide a glimpse of the contemporary technologies employed to facilitate the recovery of stolen work. The concluding "Gallery of Missing Art" serves as a visual reprise of the thefts discussed in previous chapters and offers a valuable record of many works still unaccounted for. Informative and insightful, this book is highly recommended for art history and cultural history collections. With a foreword by Julian Radcliffe, whose London-based Art Loss Register reunites stolen artworks with their rightful owners. [See the Q&A with Houpt, p. 86.-Ed.]-Savannah Schroll, Weirton, WV Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402728297
Publisher:
Sterling Publishing
Publication date:
10/28/2006
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
8.42(w) x 10.26(h) x 0.91(d)

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