Thursday, March 1, 2007

2 Paintings By Picasso Are Stolen In Paris


The headline pretty much says it all. What makes it even more incroyable is that it was stolen from the home of Picasso's granddaughter, Diana Widmaier-Picasso. There two paintings, "Maya with Doll" (1938) and "Portrait of Jacqueline" (1961), were both from Picasso's Cubism period, and police say that they are worth about $66 million dollars.

This caught my attention because I think it's kind of ridiculous that we have all these crazy war crimes, sectarian violences, rape cases, pyscho killers- and then these paintings by a celebrated painter is just stolen off the walls of his granddaughter's home. It seems so tame by comparison, and yet completely absurd. How did these robbers bypass strict security alarms? It just brings to mind the crazy agility of Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment, or even the whole complicated plan of Thomas Crowne. So theatrical.

I read an interview with an art lawyer in some art magazine, and she said that despite the triviality of art theft compared to the news on CNN, the money that people can make off selling these expensive art can help finance questionable operations, like terrorism. So it's not just capricious whims of bored rich people.

I just remembered an article in a NYT magazine last year about a man who is currently creating field where he combines art history with the "tools of criminology, pyschology and deductive logic" to help solve and retrieve valuable works of art. It was a very informative article about how he works on forming a profile on the type of person who would steal that painting, and then he would figure out how it was stolen. He is basically a pioneer in this field, and has really helped opened the eyes of the FBI and Scotland Yard. It is interesting that this forgotten field of crime is gaining some form of order and knowledge.

"'The art trade is the least transparent and least regulated commercial activity in the world,'' says Julian Radcliffe, chairman of the Art Loss Register, a London-based company that maintains a leading database of stolen artworks."

I found the article and it was pubished in the NYT magazine's issue of December 17, 2006. The art historian/detective's name is Noah Carney. The article begins by describing his love of art, and how he would be the first suspect if a statue that he admires is stolen. It's a great piece written by Tom Mueller, and it is titled "To Sketch A Thief."

To end, I feel that Diana Picasso should get the help of Noah Carney. That would be great NYT karma there.

Link: 2 Paintings By Picasso Are Stolen in Paris- http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/01/arts/design/01pica.html?_r=1&ref=design&oref=slogin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

even though there is such crazy stuff going on in the world outside of art theft, I would much rather hear about this than celebrity news. This is intriguing, thought provoking, and could lead to a much more interestign conversation than the anna nicole story.
In sum, important political new is more important than this art theft, which is exponentially more newsworthy than the celebrity gosip that is leakign into the evening news.