Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft by Simon Houpt

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. 

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