A nifty New York Times story today highlights an art theft ring (or two) that’s seizing masterpiece paintings by Picasso and Modigliani right and left. Proving that everything has a silver lining, however, all the targets so far are French.
One recent crime was something of a sophisticated ‘Thomas Crown Affair.’ The Times noted that ‘burglars appear to have identified the single window with a flawed security alarm, the rhythm of the security guards’ nightly rounds and the multitude of lesser artworks to avoid.”
We’re always suspicious of these things, since art insurers will tell you that in recessions, the number of folks stealing their own art zooms. These cases look legit, however, as the Paris Museum of Modern Art and a Picasso granddaughter were among the victims.
The story goes on to report that, on average, there are a stunning 35 art thefts per year at French museums, which might justify a twist on the old Oscar Wilde line, ‘to lose one Picasso may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness.’