Art Loving Criminals?

Jan 20, 2022 | Authentications & attributions

20 December

Five days before Christmas, not everyone is busy preparing for the festivities.

There were some preparing a grand style robbery, “it seemed to be in a movie”, at the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil.

On December 20, 2007, 3 minutes were enough to jack open the security gate, smash down two glass doors, and run to the top floor of the museum to grab two paintings from different rooms while the guards were changing shift.

They could take works like Renoir‘s “Bather with a Griffin”, Van Gogh‘s “L’Arlesienne” or Matisse‘s “Plaster Torso and Bouquet of Flowers” and instead they concentrated on only two paintings: Picasso‘s “Portrait of Suzanne Bloch”, painted during his Blue Period (and a little sad) and Portinari‘s “O Lavrador de Cafe”. Portinari’s work, which depicts a coffee collector, was painted in 1939 and is one of the most famous works by one of the most important painters in Brazil, and was valued at around 6 million euros.

Thefts of artworks occur continuously in all parts of the world, and are a loss to the society at large. On May 6, INTERPOL launched an “app” to involve individual citizens in helping to identify stolen cultural assets, reduce illicit trafficking and increase the chances of recovering stolen objects. It is called ID-Art and can be downloaded by everyone for free.

The “app” allows not only to obtain mobile access to the INTERPOL database of stolen works of art, but also to create an inventory of private art collections and report cultural sites potentially at risk. Really useful and simple to use, we invite everyone to download and use it.

The stolen goods from the coup at the San Paolo Museum were recovered as early as January 6. The police suspected that it was a commissioned theft for an art loving criminal, fixed with the two artworks. Let’s hope it wasn’t just an addition to his Christmas decorations

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