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January 30th, 2012

Posted In: art theft, art theft central, Art Theft General, Museum thefts

An Examination of Art Theft
Posted: 14 Sep 2010 02:24 PM PDT
The following is the abstract from my dissertation titled “An Examination of Art Theft, Analysis of Relevant Statistics, and Insights into the Protection of Cultural Heritage”:

This paper qualifies and interprets art theft statistics provided by the London-based Art Loss Register (ALR) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in order to quantify the problem of art theft and to assess the effectiveness of the most recent strategies that have been implemented to combat the illicit art trade. In addition to an in-depth examination of the ALR’s statistics for the first time by an academic, this paper provides an extensive historiographical background of the study of art theft. Through an analysis of the ALR’s statistics from 2000-2009, it underscores the connection between the complete documentation of cultural objects (i.e. photographic, material, measurements, location) and higher recovery rates. Furthermore, with the assistance of INTERPOL’s statistics gathered from its 2003-2008 annual polls, this paper identifies the best practices in the reduction of art theft and the illicit art trade.

Submitted on 14 September 2010 in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MA in Cultural Heritage Studies of University College London.

September 15th, 2010

Posted In: art theft central

In June 1961, Francisco de Goya’s “Portrait of the Duke of Wellington” was temporarily barred from  export to the United States after its sale to the American oil magnate Charles Wrightsman, who at the time was also a Trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two months later, the UK purchased the work from Wrightsman with the financial support of the Wolfson Foundation and the government. The work, which was deemed to be nationally significant by the Reviewing Committee, was stolen only a few weeks after while on display at the National Gallery. Prior to its recovery in 1965, the painting became a pop culture icon, and even made a cameo in Ian Fleming’s Dr. No. Despite its high profile, there are still a number of mysteries that surround the art theft…

*Originally Posted at Art Theft Central

August 13th, 2010

Posted In: art theft central

While working as a security guard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, I found that many visitors would frequently stare at the empty frames in the infamous Dutch Room and ask, “Why steal art?” In a paper I presented last November at the American Society of Criminology’s Annual Conference, I discussed the motivations behind art theft: aesthetic motivations, profit motivations and psychological motivations. After examining a myriad of art theft cases it has become quite apparent  to me that psychological motivations are likely a component of many, if not all, aesthetic and profit motivated thefts…

*Originally Posted @ Art Theft Central

August 4th, 2010

Posted In: art theft central