Chasing Picasso

Chasing Picasso

by C.Joan Baker
Chasing Picasso

Chasing Picasso

by C.Joan Baker



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In Chasing Picasso: A True Story of A Daytime Heist on Art Hill, the author unveils the mysterious history and disappearance of a small Picasso painting from the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1973. The 1906 Rose Period oil painting has not been seen since it disappeared in a clandestine daytime theft under the watch of museum guards. The painting and the heist would have been forgotten altogether if it weren't perhaps for one curious author, C. Joan Baker. A quest she hopes ends with the Picasso, nicknamed Nude, returning to the Saint Louis Art Museum.


Her story retraces the steps of the daytime heist to understand how someone could have pulled it off during visiting hours with no witnesses. Like the painting, the heist maintained a low profile over the last fifty years. She realized the painting was left off the FBI's stolen art database, a national file established in 1978. Any investigative case files from local and federal agencies involving the theft have been routinely purged, leaving no evidence behind.


She learns the mystery of Nude didn't begin when it disappeared. The painting should have been featured in the earliest authorized catalog (1932) documenting Picasso's artwork of his Rose Period, yet it wasn't. In fact, the painting didn't appear in the Picasso-authorized catalog until a 1970 supplement. The catalog offered no ownership history beyond the museum's possession.


The institution acquired the painting from an undisclosed seller in 1934, just a year after Hitler began purging modern art from Europe. The author explores the path of Nazi-looted art to America, looking at the possibility that Nude could have been confiscated from a Jewish art dealer in 1933. Perhaps it would have something to do with its quiet disappearance in 1973.


However, more than one compelling reason existed for stealing a Picasso on April 11, 1973. The museum robbery occurred only three days after Picasso died, possibly a crime of artistic passion. Art was considered a national currency, and its values had exploded wildly by the late 1950s. Organized crime began to steal art and move it around its network to launder money and use it to buy narcotics.


After Nude disappeared, thieves continued to steal art in St. Louis, at least until 1978. The thefts that followed were not as quiet. Two different heists led to sensational headlines, one involving a Hollywood legend and the other, a notorious assassination. Using the Freedom of Information Act, court files, and other government documents, the stories might reveal the most likely motive behind the stolen Picasso.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940167020665
Publisher: Strange Books, LLC
Publication date: 04/01/2023
Sold by: Draft2Digital
Format: eBook
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

C. Joan Baker was born and raised in North St. Louis City, MO. Her curiosity and willingness to dive deeply into new interests were the common denominators that launched a successful business career and her first book, Chasing Picasso.

She broke the glass ceiling on more than one occasion and jokingly claimed she has the emotional scars to prove it. Her thirty-year gig that included research and writing proved to be an asset when she exchanged her corporate suit for fuzzy slippers and pj’s (her most productive writing attire).

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Help the author spread the word about the missing Picasso! If you have information on the missing painting, please submit the lead directly at  

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