The Art Loss Register has compiled a top ten list of the most stolen Artists and Pablo Picasso comes out as the clear leader, by a long shot. He is followed by the unknown American painter Nick Lawrence who had 557 works stolen in a raid in 2004. Other Artists to make the list are more obvious names including the vault worthy Marc Chagall and Rembrandt. Warhol is number seven with over 343 works lifted over the years.
Picasso Chagall and Warhol make the top ten
The most recent painting by Picasso to be stolen was a cubist painting by the Spanish painter donated to Greece in 1949 with a dedication “in homage to the Greek people” for their resistance to Nazi occupiers during World War II. It was taken along with another canvas by the Dutch Painter Piet Mondrian from Greece’s National Gallery, earlier this month., The Culture Ministry and police sources have revealed, The robbers smashed their way into the gallery and stole the 1939 Picasso titled “Woman’s head,” and an Untitled Mondrian work. “After the alarm went off the guard discovered that the two paintings were missing. Another was lying on the floor,” an official told the media.
Other famous heists include, a robbery two years ago where five paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Leger ,Braque and Modigliani were stolen from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris and allegedly destroyed by the thieves, in order to cover up the crime. The paintings estimated to be worth around 100m euros (£86m; $123m) with titles, Dove with Green Peas by Pablo Picasso (painted in 1911), Pastoral by Henri Matisse (1906), Olive Tree near l’Estaque by Georges Braque (1906), Woman with Fan by Amedeo Modigliani (1919) and Still Life with Candlestick by Fernand Leger (1922) are top examples of the artists work. They were stolen from a highly regarded museum, close to the Eiffel. Investigators have now arrested four suspects .Security cameras caught footage showing someone entering the museum through a window during the night. The thief was able to climb into the capital’s Musée d’Art Moderne after breaking a padlock on the window, cut the canvases from their frames and removed them, by rolling them up.
Even well know figures in the art world have been charged with theft. Leading third generation international art dealers, Guy Wildenstein and his brother Alec have been surrounded by more scandal than any other wealthy family bar the Kennedys and the Gettys . The 65 year old billionaire, who is the president of Wildenstein & Co. presides over one of the most prestigious art dealerships in the world. It is a global multi billion dollar business which dates back five generations and is still family run. Wildenstein is now facing charges by French anti-fraud investigators for alleged money-laundering and tax evasion. It is also thought that a charge of theft may possibly be added to the list as the gallery faces half a dozen lawsuits with allegations of fraud, handling of stolen paintings and deception.
Although movies makes stealing art look sophisticated, art theft experts,Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg prove time and again that art thievery generally involves low brow crooks looking to make a quick buck. They aren’t interested in the art, it’s just that art museums, unlike a bank, are not secure and therefore make stealing a Rembrandt much easier than stealing a million dollars.
Picasso was born October 25, 1881, Málaga, Spain and died April 8, 1973, Mougins, France. He was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator (with Georges Braque and Juan Gris) of Cubism. The enormous body of Picasso’s work remains, his legacy a tribute to the vitality of the “disquieting” Spaniard with the “sombre piercing” eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to and paralleled the whole development of modern art in the 20th century.
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The top 10 list of artists works stolen:
1) Pablo Picasso – 1,147
2) Nick Lawrence – 557
3) Marc Chagall – 516
4) Karel Appel – 505
5) Salvador Dali – 505
6) Joan Miro – 478
7) David Levine – 343
7) Andy Warhol – 343
9) Rembrandt – 337
10) Peter Reinicke – 336