Click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Stolen art

View of Auvers sur Oise, 1879-82, Paul Cezanne,
stolen from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England,
during the millennium fireworks celebration, New Year's Eve, 1999.

copyright, Jim Lane
Nautical Stuff, 1996, Jim Lane,
stolen in dealing with an art gallery.
Virtually ever artist of any consequence has had their work stolen.  I'm not sure how consequential I am or will become, but I've lost a least a half-dozen pieces, in one case three at a time, stolen off the wall of a theater lobby as the midnight show let out. The projectionist was the only staffer in the building at the time. They were never recovered. Strangely, in another instance, as I was sitting in a dentist chair, the hygienist commented she had a painting of mine. Naturally, I asked her which one. She described a painting she'd purchased at a local restaurant for which I was never reimbursed. I'd counted the work as having been lost when the restaurant owner sold out and left town. Apparently he "sold out" my painting to my dental hygienist.

The Concert, 1664, Jan Vermeer, tied
 with Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea of
Galilee as the most valuable paintings
ever stolen,each worth $5-million..
Of course, my victimization is minuscule compared to that of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist on March 18, 1990. The Boston museum lost thirteen major works valued collectively at $300-million, including major pierces by Vermeer (right), Rembrandt (below, left), Degas, Manet, and a painting by Govaert Flinck, which the thieves apparently thought was a Rembrandt. They left behind two Raphaels and a Botticelli. It was the greatest art heist in history. None of the works have ever been recovered despite a $5-million reward for a couple of the most valuable ones. The thieves were admitted to the museum  posing as police officers.

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of
Galilee, Rembrandt, part of the Gardner
Museum haul, 1990.
Vincent van Gogh can "claim" at least three paintings as having been stolen when the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam suffered the loss of several works valued at $300-million in a theft  similar to that at the Gardner Museum (no known connection). None of those works have ever been recovered. Often, when such art is stolen they are chalked up as lost forever. Works by Caravaggio, Picasso, van Eyck, Matisse, Monet, and Gauguin, among many others, fall into this category. The Picasso, his Le pigeon aux petits pois (below, left) was so little regarded by the thieves they stuffed it into a dumpster as they fled police. Alas, the garbage container was emptied before the work was known to be missing and long before a search could begin.

Le_pigeon Aux Petits Pois, 1911,
Pablo Picasso, trashed by art ignorant
thieves, May, 2010
Vase_mit_Pechnelken (Poppy
Flowers), 1886, Vincent van Gogh.
The painting is barely larger than
 a postage stamp and has the
distinction of having been stolen

Check out a similar item from last year dealing with  Art stolen by WW II Nazis.


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