The Best Books On Art Crime: Theft, Looting, And Forgery

Noah Charney Author Of The Devil in the Gallery: How Scandal, Shock, and Rivalry Shaped the Art World
By Noah Charney

The Books I Picked & Why

The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

By Alan Hirsch

The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

Why this book?

If you saw the recent film, The Duke, then you’ll know the story of Kempton Bunton and the crazy art heist from London’s National Gallery, when Goya’s Portrait of the Duke of Wellington was stolen. This is one of the most interesting and quirkiest of all art heists and this book is the definitive telling of it.


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Context Matters: Collating the Past

By David W. J. Gill

Context Matters: Collating the Past

Why this book?

David Gill is the leading authority on antiquities looting and the legitimate institutions that trade in it. This collection of essays, most published first in The Journal of Art Crime, is as good an introduction as any to the dark side of the antiquities trade.


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Transnational Art Crime

By Edgar Tijhuis

Transnational Art Crime

Why this book?

When I first started out, there were very few books ever written about the study of art crime. Tijhuis was one of the few authorities, approaching it from a criminological perspective. This is a really strong academic survey of the phenomenon, perfect for those interested in the intersection of criminology and art.


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The Secret Collector: The Lost Art Collection of Erich Šlomovič

By Leon Pogelšek, Slavko Pregl

The Secret Collector: The Lost Art Collection of Erich Šlomovič

Why this book?

This book reads like a novel but tells the true story (one of the authors was personally involved in the adventures) of one of the most famous lost art collections of all-time. Over 400 paintings were once owned by Erich Slomovic, a Serbian Jewish collection based in Paris, who was killed in a concentration camp during the Second World War. Most of his collection remains lost, its whereabouts unknown. This book is unusually written in that it really feels like a Dickensian novel but it’s based on the best available scholarship and research.


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Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession

By Thierry Lenain

Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession

Why this book?

This book is part philosophy, part on art and forgery. Most approaches, my own included, to art forgery are art historical and criminological. This one is readable and thoughtful and fun but focuses on the big ideas behind the scenes.


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