Art-Test offers you a review of recently publications such as books, TV series, interviews, etc.
‘This Is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist’. TV series.
Art thefts have their charm and are always particularly interesting because they shed light on the entire sector.
On March 18, 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was looted by a gang of thieves. In the series now on air, period footage is mostly used, with interviews to those who were then the Boston police and to FBI agents who dealt with it. In 1990 we did not have the scientific means we have today, but in particular in the United States it was not clear what the turnover was regarding illicit acts in the world of art, so much so that the FBI did not have a specially dedicated division. But the constant increase in the value of works of art had not escaped the “underworld”. And the 4 episodes of the series not only tell about the theft but place it within the world of organized crime, the world of drug dealing, assuming that perhaps some of the paintings, even if unsaleable on the legal market, could have been used as a “guarantee” for the trade in cocaine. Somehow, the criminal world was ahead of the legal one.
To date, no work has been recovered; there is still a prize of 10 million dollars for information leading to the recovery of the works.
A fate common to many works of art, not least the Nativity of Caravaggio, whose theft in 1969 convinced the Italian Carabinieri to equip themselves with a special unit, a pioneering activity, given that they were the first in the world and that remains still a point of reference today.
Stolen art is difficult to trace, since it is relatively easy to move and can remain hidden for decades before being resold. To counter this trade, databases of stolen artworks have been created, both public, such as that of the Carabinieri, and private ones where, however, each search is against payment.
Of course, as with all databases, their usefulness depends on the content, on the accuracy of the information in it. We recommend that you draw up a file as complete as possible for each work of art you own. This will make it easier to recover in the, hopefully unlikely, event of a theft. Art-Test is of course also at your disposal in this. A small investment you won’t regret!