Skip to Main Content

How to Recover Stolen Art: About

How to Recover Stolen Art

Link to The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession by Michael Finkel in the catalog
Link to The 500 Million Dollar Heist: Unsolved Case Files by Tom Sullivan in the catalog
Link to The Woman Who Stole Vermeer by Anthony M. Amore in the catalog
Link to Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off The World's Greatest Art Heist by Stephen Kurkjian in the catalog
Link to _how I went undercover to rescue the world's stolen treasures by Robert K Wittman in the catalog
Link to The Rescue Artist: a true story of art, thieves, and the hunt for a missing masterpiece by Edward Dolnick in the catalog


Recovering Stolen Art

Art theft is a global problem,...the recovery rate of stolen art remains sadly underwhelming. 

Despite this gloomy picture (no pun intended), more effort is being made to retrieve works of art and there have been some spectacular successes, such as the recovery of Edvard Munch's painting The Scream which was stolen from Oslo's National Gallery in 1994 on the opening day of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, and recaptured three months later by Scotland Yard's art and antiques unit, who posed as art dealers.

In 2016, two stolen van Gogh paintings were recovered after 14 years, Mr. Axel Rueger, the then Director of Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, said, "The paintings have been found! That I would be able to ever pronounce these words is something I had no longer dared to hope for."

Mr. Rueger had pretty good reason to be joyful:according to the FBI, fewer than 10 per cent of stolen works are ever recovered. Unlike The Thomas Crown Affair, art thefts are generally not commissioned by wealthy art patrons who look like Pierce Brosnan with a penchant for the finer things in life. Rather, art is stolen by people involved in organized or petty crime. The two van Gogh's turned up when Italian police raided a farmhouse near Naples investigating Italian mobsters for cocaine trafficking. Continue reading from NCJV

Link to Art Heists that Made History resource guide series