Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Darker Side of Art History

Sometimes you just need a little scandal to give your day that frisson of excitement. The art world is no stranger to scandal - art history is full of it! The art world has often been rocked by radical ideas (for instance, the 1913 Armory Show), forgery, theft, censorship, and the like. In early August, we were reading about scientists re-testing the authenticity of Belgium's iconic bronze statue, the Manneken Pis - a centuries-old statue that has "been pinched, rediscovered and replicated so many times that historians say they have lost track of the original." Also this year, the film Woman in Gold was released - the compelling story of an elderly Jewish woman's battle to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis. 

We are fascinated by the twists and turns of art history's litany of forgeries, heists, mysteries, looting, and scandal. We've compiled a list of some materials from the library catalog that we hope will help explain our fascination, and perhaps even pique your own interest.


The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds, and Forgeries in the Art World by Anthony M. Amore

Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo 

Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World's Greatest Art Heist by Stephen Kurkjian

The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick

The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft by Simon Houpt

Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr

Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis [eBook]

Stealing the Mystic Lamb: The True Story of the World's Most Coveted Masterpiece by Noah Charney 

Stolen, Smuggled, Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures by Nancy Moses

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter 


The Rape of Europa

Mona Lisa Is Missing: The True Story of the Man Who Stole the Masterpiece

The Art of the Steal 

Art and Craft


5 Scandals that Rocked Art [Neatorama]

10 Scandalous Artists from History [HuffPost]

Are Art Forgers Scoundrels, or Merely Deluded Enthusiasts? [Vulture]

The 5 Best Museum Heists in History [Time]

Who Was Maria Altmann? The Real Story Behind 'Woman in Gold' [Biography] 

1 comment:

abc reading said...

This is fascinating!