Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Debunks the Romance of Art Theft

The Dr. No image of art theft is, as we all guessed, a product of Hollywood's imagination. The real story presented in “Sealing Rembrandts” is much less dramatic, but still extremely interesting. From the author's stories, it is apparent that art theft is often carried out not for love of the art, or on contract from a wealthy collector, but as a means to collect ransom, or to barter a deal with law enforcement. The number of thefts for these purposes is astonishing. What is particularly amazing is that the thefts are well planned, in many cases. Apparently the thieves think there is a serious reward in the offing. Unfortunately, this appears to be not the usual case, and the art is put in danger for no gain, or a remarkably small return on the time invested.

I very much enjoyed the book. It's written as an informative set of essays, rather than a detective story, but the detective story is there. The recovery of art is a fascinating story all by itself. I particularly enjoyed the interview with Myles J. Connor, jr. He is a thief who doesn't mince words about how easy it is to get access to valuable paintings, and what the rewards are for the thief.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of true crime and to people who want to know more about the fascinating world of art theft.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.