Experts consider art crime as the little known but lucrative side of the art business but it is also the third highest-grossing annual criminal trade in the world. Museum theft, forgery, the illegal sale of artifacts and wartime looting comprise this fascinating part of the art business. Perhaps you remember the theft of paintings from the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1999; it remains a mystery today because the paintings have not been discovered or returned. Here are books and database links, from the NHTI Library, about these true art crime stories:
Baser, Ulrich. The Gardner Heist: the True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft. New York: HarperCollins, 2009. N8795.3 .M4 B67 2009
An account of the March 18, 1999 break in and robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that became the largest art heist in history; it remains unsolved to this day.
Newspapers covered the 20th anniversary of the robbery in the following articles:
Maria, Puente. “Thieves' frames a theft masterpiece." USA Today , 12 Mar., 2010 Newspaper Source. Web. 14 February 2012.
Another theory about what happened to the stolen paintings.
"'Hey, I've seen that painting!'." Irish Times 20 Mar. 2010: Newspaper Source. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.
Around the 20th anniversary of the $500 million heist the FBI used billboards in Boston to remind people of the thefts.
Amore, Anthony M. and Tom Mashberg. Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Story of Notorious Art Heists. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. N8795 .A46 2011
The masterpieces by Rembrandt van Rijn are the most frequently stolen art in the world. Amore, an art security expert, and investigative reporter, Mashberg, reveal the players behind the major Rembrandt thefts in the last century but are unable to explain the heist of 3 Rembrandts and a Vermeer from the Gardner Museum, Boston.
Charney, Noah, ed. Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. 2009. N8795 .A78 2009
Charney, an art historian by training, compiled this collection of essays about art theft and security ranging from vandalism to art napping to explain the criminal side of the art world. Art crime receives little attention but funds other enterprises such as the drug trade. Charney founded a think tank and consultant group, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art.
Dolnick, Edward. The Rescue Artist: a True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece. New York: Harper Perennial. 2006. N8795 .D65 2005
An Edgar Award winner for best factual crime book, Dolnick retells the story of the theft of Edward Munch’s The Scream from the National Gallery. Thieves placed a ladder against the wall of the National Gallery in Oslo and in one minute a painting valued at $72 million was gone.