Museum of the Missing
The High-stakes Art CrimeBook - 2006
The past few years have been tough on Edvard Munch. First the Norwegian Expressionist's iconic painting The Scream was stolen in 1994. Then it was recovered, and a different version was stolen in 2004. It seems that Munch is getting more than his fair share of attention from thieves, but he's not alone. These days, no artist's work is safe. The international police agency, Interpol, currently lists as stolen more than twenty-five thousand works of art. This figure includes sculptures, furniture, clocks, and antiquities, as well as paintings. The number of paintings alone is staggering. Rembrandts, Renoirs, Van Goghs, Picassos. You could fill a museum. In Museum of the Missing , journalist Simon Houpt investigates the fascinating story of modern art theft. What started as looting of art treasures by invading armies, including the Nazis during World War II, has exploded into a sophisticated international operation. But grand art thefts are only part of this fascinating story. Houpt takes the reader into the backrooms of Scotland Yard, the FBI, and Interpol as crack art-recovery squads mount surveillance operations and elaborate stings. He also leads readers into a tangled underworld of money laundering, drugs, illegal arms trading, and terrorism-where the stakes for both sides are very high. The stakes for lovers of art are just as high. Many of the world's stolen masterpieces will probably not be recovered in the foreseeable future. Some may never be seen by the public again. Museum of the Missing offers an extraordinary glimpse of these lost treasures. Praise for Museum of the Missing : "This fabulous book is a must-read for any art lover."- Hello! magazine "[Houpt] also takes readers behind the scenes of the crack art-recovery squads working to retrieve the paintings and looks as the underworld where much of the art is being hidden."- Ottawa Citizen "Fascinating and fun, this book is full--not surprisingly--of great art... It's a delicious, intriguing romp through the high-stakes world of art crime: part history lesson, part art class, part true crime story. Houpt is a good writer and a good journalist, with a way of packaging a lot of information and ideas into easily digested pieces. "- Winnipeg Free Press " Museum of the Missing is one of the first books to chronicle the history of stolen art. The author explores the war looting, organized crime, and crack recovery squads involved in the centuries-old world of art theft "- Atikokan Progress " Museum of the Missing , a history of art theft, makes for fascinating if depressing reading. Houpt covers notorious heists like the 1990 St. Patrick's Day looting of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (a Vermeer and three Rembrandts are among the items still missing), art theft in time of war and flamboyant art detectives like Harold J. Smith. Art theft, Houpt reports, is big business."- Chronicle Houston "In this breezily readable volume, [Houpt] introduces us to famous art thieves and their exploits, along with concise portraits of the detectives who try to catch them. He also provides a partial catalog of famous stolen art, although some of the works in it -- such as Munch's "The Scream" -- have since been recovered. "- The Chicago Sun Times
Publisher: Toronto : Key Porter Books, 2006.
Characteristics: 192 p. :,ill. (some col.) ;,27 cm.