Leonardo's Lost Princess: One Man's Quest to Authenticate an Unknown Portrait by Leonardo Da Vinci


Peter Silverman - 2010
    In Leonardo's Lost Princess, Silverman gives a riveting first-person account of how his initial suspicions of the portrait's provenance were confirmed repeatedly by scientists and art experts. He describes the path to authentication, fraught with opposition and controversy. The twists and turns of this fascinating, decade-long quest lead from art history to cutting-edge science, and from a New York art gallery to Paris, Milan, Zurich, and ultimately a Warsaw library where the final, convincing evidence that the portrait was indeed by da Vinci was found.Takes an up-close look at the workings of the art world and at figures ranging from dealers and connoisseurs to a suspected forgerDiscusses current scientific techniques used to investigate and authenticate works of art, such as carbon dating and cutting-edge photographyUses Silverman's drawing as an entree into Leonardo da Vinci's world: his studio, his style, and his methodsExplores the intersection of art and science in the authentication process, involving the work of a man who embodied that intersectionUnearthing the secrets almost lost to history, the book is ideal reading for art lovers and anyone interested in an astounding case of ""whodunit.""

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art


Laney Salisbury - 2009
    Investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo brilliantly recount the tale of a great con man and unforgettable villain, John Drewe, and his sometimes unwitting accomplices. Chief among those was the struggling artist John Myatt, a vulnerable single father who was manipulated by Drewe into becoming a prolific art forger. Once Myatt had painted the pieces, the real fraud began. Drewe managed to infiltrate the archives of the upper echelons of the British art world in order to fake the provenance of Myatt's forged pieces, hoping to irrevocably legitimize the fakes while effectively rewriting art history. The story stretches from London to Paris to New York, from tony Manhattan art galleries to the esteemed Giacometti and Dubuffet associations, to the archives at the Tate Gallery. This enormous swindle resulted in the introduction of at least two hundred forged paintings, some of them breathtakingly good and most of them selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of these fakes are still out in the world, considered genuine and hung prominently in private houses, large galleries, and prestigious museums. And the sacred archives, undermined by John Drewe, remain tainted to this day. Provenance reads like a well-plotted thriller, filled with unforgettable characters and told at a breakneck pace. But this is most certainly not fiction; Provenance is the meticulously researched and captivating account of one of the greatest cons in the history of art forgery.

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum


Jason Felch - 2011
    The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world’s richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Getty’s dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thriller—the wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEO—but their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail. Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished façade of the museum business.

The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures


Philip Mould - 2009
    In "The Art Detective," Philip Mould, one of the world's foremost authorities on British portraiture and an irreverent and delightful expert for the "Roadshow," serves up his secrets and his best stories, blending the technical details of art detection and restoration with juicy tales peopled by a range of eccentric collectors, scholars, forgers, and opportunists. Peppered with practical advice, each chapter focuses on one particular painting and the mystery that surrounds it. Mould is our trusty detective, tracking down clues, uncovering human foibles and following hunches until the truth is revealed. Mould is known for his ability to crack the toughest puzzles and whether he's writing about a fake Norman Rockwell, a hidden Rembrandt, or a lost Gainsborough, he brings both the art and the adventure to life. "The Art Detective" is memoir, mystery, art history, and brilliant yarn all rolled into one.

Stealing History: Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the Ancient World


Roger Atwood - 2004
    He knows where priceless antiquities are buried, who is digging them up, and who is fencing and buying them. In this fascinating book, Atwood takes readers on a journey through Iraq, Peru, Hong Kong, and across America, showing how the worldwide antiquities trade is destroying what's left of the ancient sites before archaeologists can reach them, and thus erasing their historical significance. And it is getting worse. The discovery of the legendary Royal Tombs of Sipan in Peru started an epidemic. Grave robbers scouring the courntryside for tombs--and finding them. Atwood recounts the incredible story of the biggest piece of gold ever found in the Americas, a 2,000-year-old, three-pound masterpiece that cost one looter his life, sent two smugglers to jail, and wrecked lives from Panama to Pennsylvainia. Packed with true stories, this book not only reveals what has been found, but at what cost to both human life and history.

The Museum of Lost Art


Noah Charney - 2018
    An exciting read that spans the centuries and the continents.

The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities--From Italy's Tomb Raiders to the World's Greatest Museums


Peter Watson - 2006
    Eight Apulian vases, of the fourth century BC, were discovered in the swimming pool of a German-based art smuggler. More valuable than the recovery of the vases, however, was the discovery of the smuggler's card index detailing his deals and fellow dealers. It revealed the existence of the furtive tombaroli -tomb raiders-who stole classical artifacts, and a clandestine network of dealers and smugglers who spirited them out of Italy and into the hands of wealthy collectors and museums.Peter Watson, a distinguished former investigative journalist of the London Sunday Times and author of two previous exposes of art world scandals, traces the networks and names the key figures who have depleted Europe of its classical treasures. Among the looted items are the irreplaceable and highly collectable vases of Euphronios, the equivalent in their field to the sculptures of Bernini or the paintings of Michelangelo. Their journey takes them through the doors of some of the world's greatest institutions: Sotheby's auction house, the Getty Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Bostons, the British Museum, the Berline Museum of Classical Antiquities, the Miho Museum in Japan and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.When the news networks around the world began to broadcast the events of the trial of a former curator at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles in 2005, they stumbled across the corner of a thirty-year conspiracy. Filled with colorful characters and hum drama. The Medici Conspiracy completely and authoritatively exposes the latest version of one of the oldest cons in the world: theft, smuggling, and duplicitous dealing-all in the name of art. With this definitive revelation of the chain of corruptions, the world of antiquities dealing and museum collections will never be the same again.

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft


Simon Houpt - 2006
    The truth is, according to INTERPOL records, more than 20,000 stolen works of art are missing—including Rembrandts, Renoirs, van Goghs, and Picassos. Museum of the Missing offers an intriguing tour through the underworld of art theft, where the stakes are high and passions run strong. Not only is the volume beautifully written and lavishly illustrated—if all the paintings presented here could be gathered in one museum it would be one of the finest collections in existence—it tells a story as fascinating as any crime novel. This gripping page-turner features everything from wartime plundering to audacious modern-day heists, from an examination of the criminals’ motivations to a look at the professionals who spend their lives hunting down the wrongdoers. Most breathtaking of all, this invaluable resource offers a “Gallery of Missing Art,” an extensive section showcasing stolen paintings that remain lost—including information about the theft and estimated present-day value—and which may never be seen again.

The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World


Anthony M. Amore - 2015
    Art scams are increasingly convincing and involve incredible sums of money. The cons perpetrated by unscrupulous art dealers and their accomplices are proportionately elaborate.Anthony M. Amore's The Art of the Con tells the stories of some of history's most notorious yet untold cons. They involve stolen art hidden for decades; elaborate ruses that involve the Nazis and allegedly plundered art; the theft of a conceptual prototype from a well-known artist by his assistant to be used later to create copies; the use of online and television auction sites to scam buyers out of millions; and other confidence scams incredible not only for their boldness but more so because they actually worked. Using interviews and newly released court documents, The Art of the Con will also take the reader into the investigations that led to the capture of the con men, who oftentimes return back to the world of crime. For some, it's an irresistible urge because their innocent dupes all share something in common: they want to believe.

Annotated Art: The World's Greatest Paintings Explored and Explained


Robert Cumming - 1995
    Using detailed annotation of 45 works from the world's greatest artists, Art provides a deeper understanding and richer enjoyment of the masterpieces of painting.Great Art Made Accessible. This fascinating book takes an original approach to interpreting the lost language of art, using annotation to highlight everything you need to know to appreciate the world's favorite paintings, from Botticelli's The Birth of Venus to Picasso's Guernica. Art explains the artist's techniques and intentions and clarifies the meaning of obscure subjects, decoding the mysterious symbolism that can make even the most familiar painting elusive.Art is like a gallery full of the world's most spectacular paintings, including the devotional icons of the Gothic period and early Renaissance and the awe-inspiring achievements of the High Renaissance. It shows the splendor of the Baroque and Rococo, and scrutinizes the drama of the Neoclassicists and the Romantics. The enchantment of the Impressionist school and the complexities of the Cubist movement are also revealed in glowing color. Biographical notes on the artist place each work in its true personal and historical context.The book's generous size and faithful color reproduction allow every painting to be displayed accurately and in detail. At last, art lovers can truly enter the world of their favorite paintings.

Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice


Melissa Müller - 2009
    Their diverse taste ranged from manuscripts and musical instru­ments to paintings by Old Masters and the avant-garde. But their stigma as Jews in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe doomed them to exile or death in Hitler’s concentration camps. Here, after years of meticulous research, Melissa Müller (Anne Frank: The Biography) and Monika Tatzkow (Nazi Looted Art) present the tragic, compelling stories of 15 Jewish collectors, the dispersal of their extraordinary collections through forced sale and/or confiscation, and the ongoing efforts of their heirs to recover their inheritance. For every victory in the effort to return these works to their rightful heirs, there are daunting defeats and long court battles. This real-life legal thriller follows works by Rembrandt, Klimt, Pissarro, Kandinsky, and others. Praise for Lost Lives, Lost Art: <!--StartFragment--> “A heartbreaking and enthralling story of the brutal and mindless Nazi destruction of a singularly cultivated caste of rich German and Austrian Jews and the pillage of their great art collections: a world that was lost and could never be recreated.” ~ Louis Begley"Each chapter focuses on a single collector. . . the adulatory profiles [are] matched with an attractive layout and an abundance of well-selected images." ~ Wall Street Journal "The book is meticulously researched, brilliantly and dispassionately written, and is in all likelihood a game changer in the world of art, art provenance, and art restitution that will resound for years to come."~ ForeWord Reviews"Richly illustrated with excellent art reproductions and family photographs, this is a solid addition to works on Nazi art plundering and the world of art restitution, ownership, and property rights. This will be of great interest to readers wanting to know more about upper-class Austrian and German Jews. Recommended." ~ Library Journal

Stealing the Show: A History of Art and Crime in Six Thefts


John Barelli - 2019
    For the first time, John Barelli shares his experiences of the crimes that occurred on his watch; the investigations that captured thieves and recovered artwork; the lessons he learned and shared with law enforcement professionals in the United States and abroad; the accidents and near misses; and a few mysteries that were sadly never solved. He takes readers behind the scenes at the Met, introduces curators and administrators, walks the empty corridors after hours, and shares what it's like to get the call that an ancient masterpiece has gone missing. The Metropolitan Museum covers twelve acres in the heart of Manhattan and is filled with five thousand years of work by history's great artists known and unknown: Goya, da Vinci, Rembrandt, Warhol, Pollack, Egyptian mummies, Babylonian treasures, Colonial crafts, and Greek vases. John and a small staff of security professionals housed within the Museum were responsible for all of it. Over the years, John helped make the museum the state-of-the-art facility it is today and created a legacy in art security for decades to come. Focusing on six thefts but filled with countless stories that span the late 1970s on into the 21st century, John opens the files on thefts, shows how museum personnel along with local and sometimes Federal Agents opened investigations and more often than not caught the thief. But of ultimate importance was the recovery of the artwork, including Celtic and Egyptian gold, French tapestries, Greek sculpture, and more. At the heart of this book there will always be art--those who love it and those who take it, two groups of people that are far from mutually exclusive.

Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art


Joshua Knelman - 2010
    With a cool, knowing eye, Knelman delves into the lives of professionals such as Paul, a brilliant working-class kid who charmed his way into a thriving career organizing art thefts and running loot across the United Kingdom and beyond, and LAPD detective Donald Hrycyk, one of the few special investigators worldwide who struggle to keep pace with the evolving industry of stolen art. As he becomes more and more immersed in the world, Knelman learns that art theft is no fringe activity--it has evolved into one of the largest black markets in the world, which even Interpol and the FBI cannot contain.Sweeping and fast-paced, Hot Art is a major work of investigative journalism and a thrilling joyride into a mysterious criminal world.

Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures


Robert K. Wittman - 2010
    Wittman, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair.    Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid. In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments. The breadth of Wittman’s exploits is unmatched: He traveled the world to rescue paintings by Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro, Monet and Picasso, often working undercover overseas at the whim of foreign governments. Closer to home, he recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights and cracked the scam that rocked the PBS series Antiques Roadshow. By the FBI’s accounting, Wittman saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities. He says the statistic isn’t important. After all, who’s to say what is worth more --a Rembrandt self-portrait or an American flag carried into battle? They're both priceless.  The art thieves and scammers Wittman caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners.  The smuggler who brought him a looted 6th-century treasure turned out to be a high-ranking diplomat.  The appraiser who stole countless heirlooms from war heroes’ descendants was a slick, aristocratic con man.  The museum janitor who made off with locks of George Washington's hair just wanted to make a few extra bucks, figuring no one would miss what he’d filched. In his final case, Wittman called on every bit of knowledge and experience in his arsenal to take on his greatest challenge: working undercover to track the vicious criminals behind what might be the most audacious art theft of all.

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece


Edward Dolnick - 2005
    They snatched one of the world's most famous paintings, Edvard Munch's The Scream, and fled with their $72 million trophy. The thieves made sure the world was watching: the Winter Olympics, in Lillehammer, began that same morning. Baffled and humiliated, the Norwegian police called on the world's greatest art detective, a half-English, half-American undercover cop named Charley Hill. In this rollicking narrative, Edward Dolnick takes us inside the art underworld. The trail leads high and low, and the cast ranges from titled aristocrats to thick-necked thugs. Lord Bath, resplendent in ponytail and velvet jacket, presides over a 9,000-acre estate. David Duddin, a 300-pound fence who once tried to sell a stolen Rembrandt, spins exuberant tales of his misdeeds. We meet Munch, too, a haunted misfit who spends his evenings drinking in the Black Piglet Café and his nights feverishly trying to capture in paint the visions in his head. The most compelling character of all is Charley Hill, an ex-soldier, a would-be priest, and a complicated mix of brilliance, foolhardiness, and charm. The hunt for The Scream will either cap his career and rescue one of the world's best-known paintings or end in a fiasco that will dog him forever.