91 books like Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime

By Duncan Chappell, Saskia Hufnagel,

Here are 91 books that Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime fans have personally recommended if you like Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World's Richest Museum

Gail Levin Author Of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography

From my list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Distinguished Professor of art history at CUNY and biographer of artists. I grew up in Atlanta, attended college in Boston, and have worked in New York since my twenties. With a new Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers, I began as curator of the Hopper Collection at the Whitney Museum, assigned to produce a definitive catalogue of all Edward Hopper’s authentic art. His papers were missing except for his record books that recorded every time a work left for sale, loan, or gift. I traced each work as it left Hopper’s possession and discovered a massive number of undocumented artworks stolen from the estate, which the Whitney still wants to cover up.

Gail's book list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate

Gail Levin Why did Gail love this book?

This very well-researched and gripping book taught me the meaning of the term “laundering” in the art market and revealed the duplicity of the late art dealer, Larry Fleischman, who both collected and sold stolen antiquities and marketed undocumented works taken from Edward Hopper’s estate.

He didn’t care about provenance or history of ownership and is quoted in this book as saying: “Everything comes from somewhere.”

Although I knew and dealt with Fleishman, I trusted him and was tricked by him.

By Jason Felch, Ralph Frammolino,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Chasing Aphrodite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A “thrilling, well-researched” account of years of scandal at the prestigious Getty Museum (Ulrich Boser, author of The Gardner Heist).
 
In recent years, several of America’s leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity? The answer lies at the Getty, one of the world’s richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and candid interviews, these two journalists give us a fly-on-the-wall…


Book cover of The Art Stealers

Gail Levin Author Of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography

From my list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Distinguished Professor of art history at CUNY and biographer of artists. I grew up in Atlanta, attended college in Boston, and have worked in New York since my twenties. With a new Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers, I began as curator of the Hopper Collection at the Whitney Museum, assigned to produce a definitive catalogue of all Edward Hopper’s authentic art. His papers were missing except for his record books that recorded every time a work left for sale, loan, or gift. I traced each work as it left Hopper’s possession and discovered a massive number of undocumented artworks stolen from the estate, which the Whitney still wants to cover up.

Gail's book list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate

Gail Levin Why did Gail love this book?

Esterow, then employed by Larry Fleischman, assessed hundreds of Edward Hoppers that an unknown minister offered to sell.

The book’s dust jacket advertises “a lively history of certain fabulous art thefts—and the strange breed of thieves who perpetrated them.” Esterow’s book inspired one reviewer to comment that few of his criminals “are very ingenious.”

Sanborn, who must have seemed to Esterow like a character that belonged in his narrative, told me that Esterow offered him a consignment deal for what he was shown, which later turned out to be just a small part of Sanborn’s loot.

Had he known Sanborn’s story, Esterow might have added his scheme of befriending the aging sister of a famous artist, whose early works were jammed into the attic of the family home. 

By Milton Esterow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art Stealers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art

Gail Levin Author Of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography

From my list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Distinguished Professor of art history at CUNY and biographer of artists. I grew up in Atlanta, attended college in Boston, and have worked in New York since my twenties. With a new Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers, I began as curator of the Hopper Collection at the Whitney Museum, assigned to produce a definitive catalogue of all Edward Hopper’s authentic art. His papers were missing except for his record books that recorded every time a work left for sale, loan, or gift. I traced each work as it left Hopper’s possession and discovered a massive number of undocumented artworks stolen from the estate, which the Whitney still wants to cover up.

Gail's book list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate

Gail Levin Why did Gail love this book?

This book shows the importance of provenance or history of ownership in tracking the authenticity of works of art.

We learn about criminals, who not only can forge art, but they can also fake or hide archival materials. For me, this sheds light on the case of Edward Hopper’s papers, because we will never know what the minister removed or destroyed from what he took.

Since he was using these papers both to pose as an expert on Hopper and to hide his possession of hundreds of undocumented artworks by one of the most documented of all artists, he might well have removed any incriminating evidence. 

By Laney Salisbury, Aly Sujo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Provenance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A tautly paced investigation of one the 20th century's most audacious art frauds, which generated hundreds of forgeries-many of them still hanging in prominent museums and private collections today

Provenance is the extraordinary narrative of one of the most far-reaching and elaborate deceptions in art history. Investigative reporters Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo brilliantly recount the tale of a great con man and unforgettable villain, John Drewe, and his sometimes unwitting accomplices.

Chief among those was the struggling artist John Myatt, a vulnerable single father who was manipulated by Drewe into becoming a prolific art forger. Once Myatt had painted…


Book cover of Inside the Lost Museum: Curating, Past and Present

Gail Levin Author Of Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography

From my list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Distinguished Professor of art history at CUNY and biographer of artists. I grew up in Atlanta, attended college in Boston, and have worked in New York since my twenties. With a new Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers, I began as curator of the Hopper Collection at the Whitney Museum, assigned to produce a definitive catalogue of all Edward Hopper’s authentic art. His papers were missing except for his record books that recorded every time a work left for sale, loan, or gift. I traced each work as it left Hopper’s possession and discovered a massive number of undocumented artworks stolen from the estate, which the Whitney still wants to cover up.

Gail's book list on the fate of the Edward Hopper Estate

Gail Levin Why did Gail love this book?

I like this book’s discussion of curators as one of two “sources of truth.”

It mentions “curatorial knowledge” and “provenance research,” but also mentions “donors and people associated with the collection.”

With such subjects, there exists a huge area for administrative abuse: for example, those who engage curators/scholars to do provenance research and then dismiss it if not what the museum expected or intended.

Yet this book states, and I agree: “Cataloguing takes deep expertise and time.” So this book brings up some of the pitfalls curators can experience.

By Steven Lubar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside the Lost Museum as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Curators make many decisions when they build collections or design exhibitions, plotting a passage of discovery that also tells an essential story. Collecting captures the past in a way useful to the present and the future. Exhibits play to our senses and orchestrate our impressions, balancing presentation and preservation, information and emotion. Curators consider visitors' interactions with objects and with one another, how our bodies move through displays, how our eyes grasp objects, how we learn and how we feel. Inside the Lost Museum documents the work museums do and suggests ways these institutions can enrich the educational and aesthetic…


Book cover of The Last Mona Lisa

Marilyn Baron Author Of The Case of the Forgotten Fragonard

From my list on World War Two and Nazi stolen art.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied art history in Florence, Italy, while there for six months during college. I’ve always loved Italy and am fascinated with art and World War II, because my father was a top-turret gunner on a B-17, flying missions over Europe, including on D-Day. WWII historical fiction is my favorite topic to read and write. I write in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to historical romantic thrillers and romantic suspense to paranormal. My latest project is a cozy mystery series about an American college graduate who goes to work for a flailing Italian art detective agency in Florence and works with her sexy Carabinieri boyfriend (later husband), to solve Nazi stolen art crimes. 

Marilyn's book list on World War Two and Nazi stolen art

Marilyn Baron Why did Marilyn love this book?

Not only was this book about the theft of the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, in 1911 a great read, but I connected with the book because the author is a writer and an artist.

As an artist, he has been replicating famous paintings for private collectors for more than two decades so he knows his subject.

By Jonathan Santlofer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Mona Lisa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF PEOPLE MAGAZINE'S BEST BOOKS OF SUMMER!
"Unstoppable what-happens-next momentum."-Michael Connelly, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"A deliciously tense read."-Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author
From award-winning crime writer and celebrated artist Jonathan Santlofer comes an enthralling tale about the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, the forgeries that appeared in its wake, and the present-day underbelly of the art world.
August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more…


Book cover of The Art Forger

Elisabeth M. Lee Author Of Young PRB: A Novel of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From my list on artists by non-artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history major and artist I noticed a style of illustrations and paintings that popped up in history books, novels, and poetry collections. I found that the paintings and drawings were just scratching the surface. The lives and struggles of the artists known as Pre-Raphaelites were just as intriguing as the art. I have traveled to the many locations that the Pre-Raphaelites frequented to follow in their footsteps. I've even tried to copy their wet white painting style and was awed by the patience they must have had. I appreciate many art styles and enjoy being transported into the lives of the artists by authors as interested in art and history as I am. 

Elisabeth's book list on artists by non-artists

Elisabeth M. Lee Why did Elisabeth love this book?

Art forgery has always fascinated me. The idea that you can create a 'new' work by an old master and then, maybe, get away with it. Claire is a struggling artist whose one chance at fame had been stolen by a lover. Reduced to painting reproductions of famous paintings for clients to hang in their home she is approached by an art dealer to secretly forge a Degas painting. The money is good enough to silence her scruples and when the painting arrives she immediately recognizes that it is one of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Already she is having doubts but after beginning her study of the painting she suspects that it, too, is a forgery. Forged art has never been so compelling.

By B.A. Shapiro,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Art Forger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - still the largest unsolved art theft in history - one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece - the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years - may…


Book cover of Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World's Greatest Art Forger

Tim Maleeny Author Of Hanging the Devil

From my list on planning an art heist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by art, not just the paintings themselves but their historical significance, the personalities behind the canvas, and the seemingly arbitrary value placed on one artist’s work versus another. Writing my latest novel, Hanging the Devil, was a chance to delve into the illicit side of the art world, where forgers and smugglers consort with organized crime. I’ve been an award-winning mystery author for more than a decade—this is my sixth novel—and the great thing about writing crime fiction is the chance to get lost in the research and learn something new, so writing this novel was a great excuse to visit museums, talk to experts, and plan a heist!

Tim's book list on planning an art heist

Tim Maleeny Why did Tim love this book?

Tony Tetro is one of the most successful art forgers in history and a character straight out of a movie, with a devil-may-care attitude towards his fast life among the rich, famous, and fraudulent.

His talents have fooled expert appraisers and wealthy collectors for years, including Prince (now King) Charles, who acquired paintings by Tetro thinking they were authentic works of art by Picasso, Dali, Monet, and Chagall. There are likely hundreds of his forged paintings currently hanging in museums and galleries—or displayed in private collections—authenticated as originals.

Read about his secret stash room hidden behind a mirror, his reckless disregard for consequences, and his jaundiced view of the victims of his many cons, and you’ll swear you’re reading a novel versus nonfiction. 

The key to writing a novel is to make the characters as real as possible, with all the many contradictions we find in ourselves, in order to…

By Tony Tetro, Giampiero Ambrosi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Con/Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world's most renowned art forger reveals the secrets behind his decades of painting like the Masters-exposing an art world that is far more corrupt than we ever knew while providing an art history lesson wrapped in sex, drugs, and Caravaggio.The art world is a much dirtier, nastier business than you might expect. Tony Tetro, one of the most renowned art forgers in history, will make you question every masterpiece you've ever seen in a museum, gallery, or private collection. Tetro's "Rembrandts," "Caravaggios," "Miros," and hundreds of other works now hang on walls around the globe. In 2019, it was…


Book cover of Art Forgery: The History of a Modern Obsession

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

From my list on art crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Back in 2006, a New York Times Magazine feature article about me announced that I had essentially founded the field of the study of art crime, while still a postgraduate student. I’m often mentioned as the world’s leading authority on the history of art crime and I’ve been a professor teaching the subject for more than a decade (I’m not actually that old). I also founded ARCA, the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, the world’s first think tank and research group on art crime. We launched the first academic journal on the subject, The Journal of Art Crime, as well as the first academic study program, the ARCA Postgraduate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection, which runs every summer in Italy. I’m also the author of more than a dozen books, many best-sellers, and one a Pulitzer finalist. I write on art crime for TED Ed videos, I host TV programs on the subject, and I recently curated a virtual exhibit of lost art called Missing Masterpieces.

Noah's book list on art crime

Noah Charney Why did Noah love 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.

By Thierry Lenain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art Forgery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The obsession with art forgery appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon. In Art Forgery, the author's aim is not to suggest new methods of detection, but rather to look at the genealogy of faking and to interrogate the anxious, sometimes neurotic, reactions triggered in the modern world of art by these clever frauds. Thierry Lenain considers the idea of authenticity in the Middle Ages, when the issue of false relics and miracles often arose: if a relic gave rise to a cult, it would be considered as genuine even if it had evidently been 'forged'. Similarly, the seventeenth and…


Book cover of Long Time Coming

Shelley Costa Author Of A Killer's Guide to Good Works

From my list on where great art leads to even greater crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

One of the advantages of growing up in New Jersey is the proximity to the museums in New York City. What great school field trips! And I really believe that’s where my love for art and history began. My cathedrals are art museums, great libraries, Civil War battlefields, wilderness shorelines – experiencing these places lifts me out of the dailiness of life, reminds me of struggle, greatness, and excellence. I guess it was just a matter of time before my sweet spot as a writer and reader is the point of intersection between great art and terrible crimes. Things worth writing about. 

Shelley's book list on where great art leads to even greater crimes

Shelley Costa Why did Shelley love this book?

When an uncle – presumed killed in the Blitz – turns up after serving nearly forty years in an Irish prison, he tells a story about having been one of the thieves of Picasso paintings stolen from a diamond merchant in Antwerp in 1939. At clever work in this tale are forgers, revolutionaries, and family members out to recover their treasure or their family honor. I have known for a long time that what I love most – more than mere murder mysteries – are what I call novels with murder. For me, the story has to be a beautifully realized bit of writing, and a murder is just one feature of it.

I have always loved Goddard’s style, which is both elegant and readable. And murder, more than a puzzle, becomes a natural part of the lives he depicts. Known for his plot twists, he sets me down in…

By Robert Goddard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Long Time Coming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eldritch Swan is a dead man. Or at least that is what his nephew Stephen has always been told. Until one day Eldritch walks back into his life after 36 years in an Irish prison. He won't reveal any of the details of his incarceration, insisting only that he is innocent of any crime.

His return should be of interest to no-one. But the visit of a solicitor with a mysterious request will take Eldritch and his sceptical nephew fromsleepy seaside Paignton to London, where an exhibition of Picasso paintings from the prestigious Brownlow collection proves to be the starting…


Book cover of The Art Whisperer

Jennifer S. Alderson Author Of The Lover's Portrait

From my list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Europe’s finest masterpieces drew me from Seattle, Washington to the Netherlands, where I earned a master’s degree in art history. During my study, the restitution of artwork that had been looted during WWII was a hot topic, and one that deeply fascinated me. Ultimately, my classes and work for several Dutch cultural institutions inspired me to write my series of art history mysteries.

Jennifer's book list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art

Jennifer S. Alderson Why did Jennifer love this book?

Alix London is the spunky lead character in Charlotte Elkins’ four-novel-long series of art mysteries. Alix is an art restorer with a sordid past, who is helping a rich Seattle businesswoman build up an art collection. The Art Whisperer is a fantastic story about forgeries, restoration, museum politics, and murder. Elkins is able to describe the art world in such a way that even those not interested in art history would enjoy this book and series. 

By Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art Whisperer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she's understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur's eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs's Brethwaite Museum-her current employer.

Alix is already under fire, the object of a vicious online smear campaign. Now the Brethwaite's despicable senior curator, obsessed with the "maximization of monetized eyeballs," angrily refuses to decommission the celebrated Pollock piece. But it's only when a hooded intruder attacks Alix in her hotel room that the real trouble begins. And when FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth-with whom Alix had inadvertently,…


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