Art thieves are just not very good

Swiss Police Recover Masterpieces HELENA BACHMANN 2/19/08 Time

“Two of the four paintings stolen at gunpoint earlier this month from a Zurich museum were found in good condition Sunday afternoon, the police reported on Tuesday. But efforts continue to catch the thieves and find the other two stolen masterpieces.

“Monet’s Poppies near Vétheuil and van Gogh’s Blossoming Chestnut Branches were found in a parking lot of a Zurich psychiatric hospital. The two other looted paintings, Cezanne’s The Boy in the Red Vest and Degas’ Count Lepic and His Daughters, are still missing.”

Also, The New York Times has a slideshow on Famous Art Heists and an article called Where You Going With That Monet? (2/17/08) in which reporter Randy Kennedy begins by talking about art theft movies:

“…One thing art theft movies tend to have in common is that they dwell on the heist and not on the aftermath, for reasons that are probably more than cinematic: art is an exceedingly dumb thing to steal.

“The most valuable examples, usually paintings, are also the most highly recognizable and therefore almost impossible to resell or to display anywhere. When thieves try they are often caught. And so most real art bandits don’t exude quite the élan of a Nolte or Brosnan or even of a good, methodical jewel thief. In fact, they are often found pretty far down the ladder of professional purloining, acting on impulse or opportunity in a world in which museums are still relatively unguarded public spaces. And in many cases, to put it bluntly, art thieves are just not very good.”

Posted by: Tanya


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