Paintings by Picasso have been stolen more than twice as much as works by any other artist
The thieves who made off with seven masterworks by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and others from a Rotterdam museum showed they know fine art and are good at not getting caught, but they are anything but original.
According to LiveScience, the Art Loss Register shows Picasso is the most stolen artist of all time. Fitting, considering he is reputed to have said, "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." The register shows 1,147 of Picasso's paintings have been swindled as of the beginning of this year. So that doesn't include the heist on Oct. 16 in the Netherlands. Matisse's paintings have been boosted 205 times.
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The second most stolen artist is the relatively unknown American Nick Lawrence. LiveScience reports most of his 557 missing paintings disappeared at the same time after they were moved without his consent.
The most frequently stolen work is Rembrandt's "Jacob de Gheyn III", which has been stolen four times since 1966.
The Art Loss Register is the world's largest private database of lost and stolen art, antiques and collectables.
Their website says they have been instrumental in the recovery of more than $320M worth of stolen items.
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The hard part for the thieves now will be selling the works. Because the Art Loss Register has already updated its database with the items taken in Rotterdam, the thieves would be caught pretty quickly if they tried to sell the paintings on the open market.
Unless the thieves have a plan to unload the instantly recognizable works to a buyer who can pay the high price and is willing to overlook questionable provenance, they may become a burden.
A man tried unsuccessfully for 20 years to sell a statue head of Nero's mother, stolen from Pompeii. It was recently announced the head was recovered.
However, if the thieves already have a buyer or have connections, it can pay huge. According to Interpol and the FBI, art theft is the third most lucrative crime in the world after drugs and illicit arms.
With files from The Canadian Press
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