Sunday, May 23, 2010

~To Catch A Thief~

Last week in Paris a thief is believed to have carried out one of the largest and most brazen art heists in history. The thief broke into The Musuem of Modern Art through a window that had a faulty alarm system and was awaiting repair.

Source Unknown

He made off with works by Picasso, Matisse, and Modigliani. The stolen masterpieces (including 'Le Pigeon aux petit pois' by Picasso, Henri Matisse’s "Pastoral," Georges Braque’s "Olive Tree Near Estaque," Fernand Léger’s "Still Life With Chandeliers,'' and Amedeo Modigliani’s ''Woman With Fan').

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe confirmed that the raid was the most costly in the history of French art and called it ‘an intolerable attack on Paris’s universal cultural heritage’.  According to The Art Loss Register, only 12-15% of stolen art is ever recovered. They also state that Picasso is the most stolen artist in the world with 660 (including the most recent one stolen in Paris) missing works of art by the artist.

GarenT Photography

Art thieves have struck again in France this weekend by stealing five pictures from the home of an art collector in Marseille only a day after the major heist in Paris, the stolen pictures include a Picasso lithograph.
French police said Saturday the owner was beaten up at his home in southern France on Friday and the art stolen.

Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief

~Biggest Art Heists in History~
May 2010: A lone thief stole five paintings possibly worth hundreds of millions of euros, including works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist at a Paris modern art museum.

February 2008: Armed robbers stole four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh and Monet worth $163.2 million from the E.G. Buehrle Collection, a private museum in Zurich, Switzerland. The van Gogh and Monet paintings were recovered.

December 2007: A painting by Pablo Picasso valued at about $50 million, along with one by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari valued at $5 million to $6 million, were stolen from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil, by three burglars using a crowbar and a car jack. The paintings were later found.

February 2007: Two Picasso paintings, worth nearly $66 million, and a drawing were stolen from the Paris, France home of the artist's granddaughter in an overnight robbery. Police later recovered the art when the thieves tried to sell it.

February 2006: Around 300 museum-grade artifacts worth an estimated $142 million, including paintings, clocks and silver, were stolen from a 17th-century manor house at Ramsbury in southern England, the largest property theft in British history, according to reports.

February 2006: Four works of art and other objects, including paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Salvador Dali, were stolen from the Museu Chacara do Ceu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by four armed men during a Carnival parade. Local media estimated the paintings' worth at around $50 million.

August 2004: Two paintings by Edvard Munch, The Scream and Madonna, insured for $141 million, were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway by three men in a daylight raid. The paintings were recovered nearly two years later.

August 2003: A $65 million Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in southern Scotland after two men joined a public tour and overpowered a guide. It was recovered four years later.

May 2003: A 16th-century gold-plated Saliera, or salt cellar, by Florentine master Benvenuto Cellini, valued at $69.3 million, was stolen from Vienna's Art History Museum by a single thief when guards discounted a burglar alarm. The figurine was later recovered.

December 2002: Two thieves broke in through the roof of the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stole two paintings by Van Gogh valued at $30 million. Dutch police convicted two men in December 2003, but did not recover the paintings.

December 2000: Hooded thieves stole a self-portrait by Rembrandt and two Renoir paintings worth an estimated $36 million from Stockholm's waterfront National Museum, using a motorboat in their escape. All paintings were recovered.

October 1994: Seven Picasso paintings worth an estimated $44 million were stolen from a gallery in Zurich, Switzerland. They were recovered in 2000.

April 1991: Two masked armed men took 20 paintings - worth at least $10 million each at the time - from Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum. The paintings were found in the getaway car less than an hour later.

March 1990: In the biggest art theft in U.S. history, $300 million in art, including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Manet, was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, by two men in police uniforms.

December 1988: Thieves stole three paintings by van Gogh, with an estimated value of $72 million to $90 million, from the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in a remote section of the Netherlands. Police later recovered all three paintings.

May 1986: A Vermeer painting, Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, is among 18 paintings worth $40 million stolen from Russborough House in Blessington, Ireland. Some of the paintings are later recovered.

August 1911: Perhaps the most famous case of art theft occurred when the Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by employee Vinczo Peruggia, who was caught two years later.

~Art Heist History, The Daily Mail-UK
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  1. Wow I love this post!!! Kori xoxo

  2. Art makes me so happy ~ and obviously it makes others very happy as well (but I just only hope they are appreciating its true value of talent and beauty and not just its worth).

  3. I still can't believe that the thieves made it in and out of the gallery in Paris without detection....nothing is safe. Such an Interesting post Judith, I loved it, xv.

  4. While being a complete and utter tragedy and loss to OUR culture as well, since we admire these works on our trips to Paris, there is almost an elegant air, created by such beautiful photos such as Mr. Grant from the movie, "To Catch a Thief." Paris or France in general, always seems to be the perfect backdrop, if you will, for such an "elegant" heist. Unfortunately, this is not the movies or a novel, and I so hope that these works are recovered so that we all can again enjoy them. You presented beautifully Judith dearest! Anita

  5. wow i had no idea about this!!! crazyyyyy that these things still happen! thanks for update :-D you are more up on the news here than I am!

    xoxo Bardot in Blue

  6. Woah, you think if their alarm system was faulty that they would have had guards there! Gosh, if they rarely uncover the paintings, I wonder if the thieves keep or sell them? Wouldn't it be a big red flag when they went to sell them?

    Why am I asking you these questions? Sorry!

    Sleepless in S.F...

  7. fascinating ... I knew, of course, there had been art robberies before; but, I had no idea the extent of them!

    loved this post!

  8. I find it astonishing that people can hide a painting on their way out! Maybe they're all stolen at night. They can't be sold on though can they, so maybe it's art lovers who want it for themselves? I like to think so.x

  9. What a fabulously, tragic post. As always I love reading your blog, so detailed and well informed. I was thinking about you all weekend. {hugs}

  10. Oh NO!!!! Sometimes the theif is an ex employee and knows what others don't... so interesting to me. This is facinating. I can't wait to show my husband this post. This art and artist is in our everyday household language together.
    Thanks Judith for sharing.

  11. What a valid and interesting piece of research you undertook for this post. I am a great lover of art and promote art when and where I can, also organise exhibitions so I know full well what art is worth. Some people will get up to anything to make quick money on the black market. And there is a lot of it where Haute art is involved. It's a pity when national treasures go missing and a real crime against society.

  12. NO WAY .....

    I hadn't heard the news ....

    let's catch up honey

  13. Interesting post Judith. Hmmm...sounds to me like something is afoot...very convenient timing with the alarm waiting to be repaired! Unfortunately we'll never know the true story, but it is such a shame that thousands of art lovers will now miss out on the experience of viewing these incredible works of art.
    Hope all is going well with you!
    Bonne semaine,

  14. Hi Judith!

    Great post. How tragic. Thanks for information on the biggest art heists. I'll have to study them to impress a few friends that like to think of themselves as serious art lovers. It's always great to hear from you.


  15. Absolutely shocking! It's one of the greatest mysteries of our time! Who has spare time to figure out how to pull off something like this and then really do it?!
    Great post!

  16. What infuriates me is that the art will disappear into a private collection somewhere and the public will most likely never see these beautiful pieces again.
    So selfish!!!

  17. How horrible!! I'm literally so annoyed at people's actions sometimes. Great post.

  18. This was a great post! I mean this thief seemed to just walk in and take 3 very specific pieces not very close in location to each other....Then he cut the paintings out of the frames on the street!Amazing......Not like the movies..I was dissappointed to hear they only recover 15%? Thanks.Maryanne :)

  19. This is crazy, it's sad people do such things... Ps. I adore your etsy shop, it's a bit too expencive for me, though. ;)

  20. Very interesting !! I hope they are all recovered so they can continue to move the many people who come to visit. Happy Weekend to you ! XO Lisa

  21. Anddddd... I have been questioned about a couple of these thefts ;) BUT bien sûr I am innocent!

  22. god bless your blog très chère:) its so whimsical! with your dreamy images and portraits old glamour.
    I even used one of your beautiful images on my blog

    mademoiselle isabelle

  23. This is so tragic. I was fortunate enough to see these pieces when in Paris a few years back. Oh please......let them surface somewhere.



  24. ....I'm in shock! It's such a shame that those original pieces could be lost for the world to love and enjoy! So sad.
    Lila Ferraro
    Queen Bedroom Sets

  25. I love your blog and am dying to see more. Are you going to post again?

  26. What a great post and so interesting. I love discovering new things. Great blog to follow.
    Have a nice day. Brigitte

  27. I hope they catch them. It is a daring thing to do. To bad they will be hidden and out of sight from the world.

    Very interesting post.



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