Sunday, June 26, 2011

Art Moves and Art Heists: The Barnes and more

Cezanne's The Card Players (Barnes)
With a graduate degree in art history and a strong interest in mysteries, I'm drawn to the art heist--the books about them and the real heists. The Wall Street Journal had a great article about the $25 Billion Move. It was all about how to transport priceless art, specifically focusing on Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation move from Merion, PA to a new downtown museum. As Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation begins a controversial relocation, it confronts the question that has long tantalized thieves and challenged security experts.

This move is even more fascinating to me personally since the Barnes Foundation was in my backyard when I was growing up. Although admittance was limited in those days, I managed to view the collection many many times. I did a major (2 periods) of art (forgoing physics which was only offered at the same time) at Lower Merion High School, and we often took 'field trips' to the Barnes. Once the Barnes was opened to the public, I continued to visit several times a year.

If you've never been to the Barnes, the collection has over 181 Renoir, 69 Cezanne, 59 Matisse and so much more. I always thought the paintings and sculpture at the Barnes were displayed in a very haphazard way, but that's what Dr. Barnes wanted. Now after many decades of contention between the estate and the public--filled with the stuff of mysteries--politics, art, money, race and sex--the collection will be moved to its new site starting on July 3. How does one move such a collection? Read the article HERE. I found it fascinating. It may only be 6 miles to the Barnes' new location, but with over $25 billion of fine art moving through Philly... well you can imagine.

View a Slide Show of Amazing Art Thefts HERE

Stolen Art Movies: 
Dr. No (1961): Stolen: Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington
The Thomas Crown Affair (1999): Stolen: Monet's San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Entrapment (1999): Stolen: First a $40 million Rembrandt, then an ancient Chinese mask
Ocean's Twelve (2004) Stolen: The Faberge Corontation Egg from a Rome Museum.


J F Norris said...

I love art caper movies. Here are some others for your readers who may share my obsession with them:

TOPKAPI - the famed Turkish museum is broken into in order to steal a jeweled dagger (based on Eric Ambler's The Light of Day)

THE HOT ROCK - diamond theft from the Brooklyn Museum (based on Donald E Westlake's book)

HOW TO STEAL A MILLION - Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole try to steal her father's statue (a forgery) on display in a Paris museum before the curators discover the fraud.

Janet Rudolph said...

Great, John, love those movies!