Pablo Picasso once said “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” It is debatable that he was one of the greatest artists in history. Known for The Weeping Woman, Don Quixote, Guernica, and The Red Arm Chair. Picasso is one of the most famous artists. Next to Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Van Gogh .His signature style of cubism, in which he aided in its conception, is widely recognized as the one of the most imitated styles. His paintings, desired by everyone, are a prime target for thieves. Given that point, how do the thieves sell masterpieces that are so widely recognized by everyone in the world? Wouldn’t someone report that these great masterpieces are being sold on the street, or being used as currency for high dollar purchases that the thieves, or the thieves’ organization, can’t pay off with paper money? Or are people so self-centered that all they care about is their own possessions and not possessions of the world? With Pablo’s quote in mind, could these thieves be considered artists, and could the people who retrieve these works of art for the world possibly be dubbed, rescue artists?
Can the average Joe tell the difference from a purloined work of art from a painting that has a reputable chain of custody? The seller could easily say that it has been passed down from generation to generation, and the reason that they are selling it is that they have fallen on hard times. Could an auction house even know, with their access to databases that reports all documented works of art, stolen or not. For instance, the Phoebus Auction Gallery in Norfolk, VA on November, 18, 2013 attempted to auction off a British portrait, from the estate of Robert Kittleson of Williamsburg, painted in the 18th century. However 15 minutes b…
…does to the works can be horrendous. A light must be shine on this dark branch of crime, awareness could possibly return works of art that are missing, or are thought to be lost forever. Then perhaps one day the term “rescue artists” may not have to be used.
Mondics, Chris. “HIS CAREER IN ART THEFT.” Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) 15 July 2007: Newspaper Source. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Hull, Dana. “Smartphone makers add features to stymie thieves.” San Jose Mercury News (CA) 04 Nov. 2013: Newspaper Source. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Annas, Teresa. “Mystery British portrait did not sell Sunday in Hampton.” Virginian-Pilot, The (Norfolk, VA) 18 Nov. 2013: Newspaper Source. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
Ocean’s Eleven, directed by Steven Soderbergh (2001; Chicago, IL: Warner Home Video, 2001), DVD.
Dolnick, Edward. The Rescue Artist. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006 . Print.