Museum of the Missing

Museum of the Missing

A History of Art Theft

Book - 2006
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Priceless masterpieces...Brazen thefts:The true story behind the blank spaces on the museum walls.
What kind of person would dare to steal a legendary painting—and who would buy something so instantly recognizable? In recent years, art theft has captured the public imagination more than ever before, spurred by both real life incidents (the snatching of Edvard Munch’s well-known masterwork The Scream) and the glamorous fantasy of such Hollywood films as The Thomas Crown Affair. 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. 

Book News
This attractive, well-made book, abundantly illustrated with color plates of art works, focuses on a topic that is engaging on many levels: it appeals to an undeniably pervasive appetite for "true crime" stories as well as a fascination with the mystique of the art world and the mysteries of art's power. Author Houpt is the New York-based arts and culture columnist for The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper. Here he presents tales of theft (and some of recovery), embedding the accounts in discussion of art as a commodity, theft in time of war, the characteristics of the criminals, what museums are doing to protect their collections, and how lost art is found these days. An appendix offers a gallery of missing art. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: New York, NY : Sterling Pub., c2006
ISBN: 9781402728297
Branch Call Number: 364.162 H815m 2006
Characteristics: 192 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm

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List - Art Theft
PimaLib_KatieW Oct 19, 2017

According to INTERPOL, approximately 20,000 pieces of artwork are missing. This number includes Rembrandts, van Goghs, Picassos, and more. This book describes accounts of art theft ranging from wartime pillaging to contemporary heists.

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Jul 12, 2013

Interesting stuff. For a type of book that cannot have enough pictures, they did well, there were almost enough pictures. The stories seemed incomplete (well, that's what missing means...) and I would have liked more detail, I expected more than just a bunch of little articles with a good introduction.

Nineshadesofnifty Aug 26, 2011

This was an interesting read. I will be one of the books that we will discuss during our Art Themed: Tea & Books talk on September the 1st, 2011 at the Unionville Branch of MPL. Talk starts at 2:30, please join us!

MariePat Dec 19, 2007

I really liked this book. It delved in a topic I was not previously familiar with. Not too hard to read and has beautiful pictures


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