Why It's So Popular to Steal a Rembrandt

One Rembrandt has been stolen four times, from the same museum
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2011 3:05 PM CDT
Rembrandt Paintings: Why They Are Stolen So Frequently
Rembrandt's 1633 painting "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee"   (Wikipedia)

It's a fascinating art-world contradiction: Paintings by Rembrandt have been stolen time and time again over the years—but they aren't worth as much as, say, a Van Gogh, and most are so recognizable that the purloiners can't sell them anyway. In Stealing Rembrandts, art security pro Anthony Amore and journalist Tom Mashberg recount a handful of major thefts: the painting that was stolen four times from the same museum; the security guard who died trying to stop the crime; the thief who got his hands one by way of scaffolding set up by workers who were installing ... a security system.

But Amore and Mashberg also try to tackle the million-dollar question: Why Rembrandts? They're not secretly hanging on the walls of rich and devious international art lovers, the pair argue. In fact, the majority of stolen Rembrandts end up being returned. Sometimes the paintings are used in an attempt to gain a ransom payment, but many Rembrandt thieves probably just don’t know enough about art to know that their crime probably won't pay off, they write. The Christian Science Monitor declares it a "concise" and "entertaining" read. (Click to read about an odd twist in a recent Picasso theft.)

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