POLICING ART CRIME

By Naomi Oosterman

In the cold winter’s night of 9 to 10 January 2005, criminals left a devastating scene at the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, the Netherlands. Glass doors were shattered, wooden panels were destroyed, and valuable porcelain was smashed into hundreds of pieces. Possibly more devastating was the additional theft of 70 pieces of silver and 24 paintings of important 17th century artists like Jan van Goyen, Jacob Waben, and Matthias Withoos with an estimated value between €250.000 and €1.3 million. A few years later, without violence but with similar devastating consequences, seven paintings belonging to the Triton Family Foundation were stolen from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. Amongst these were works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Lucian Freud. Estimated value: €18.1 million. The 2002 thefts of two unique Van Gogh paintings from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, finalizes the list. ‘Childishly easy’ is how the theft was described in the media. With a rope, ladder, and a broken window, the criminals could steal one of only two seascapes made by Van Gogh from his Dutch years. The described cases are considered to be the most notable art crimes that took place in the Netherlands in the past 20 years. Continue reading “POLICING ART CRIME”

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ART THEFTS, AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THEM?

By Frederick Chen and Rebecca Regan

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More than 50,000 pieces of artwork are stolen each year globally, and many cases of art crimes are facilitated by lax security at museums. How can economic theory account for these observations, and what kind of policies would help reduce the incidence of art thefts?

Continue reading “WHY ARE THERE SO MANY ART THEFTS, AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THEM?”

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