Monday, February 20, 2012

The Stolen Turners

Also recovered, Turner’s Light and Color.
Both works were on loan to the Schirn Kunsthalle
On the night of July 28,1994, after Schirn Kusnsthalle in Frankfrut had closed for the night, a security guard was grabbed by a masked man. A second man handcuffed him and bound his eyes with tape. The thugs pushed him into the closet and told him to keep quiet. The masked men took two paintings Shade and Darkness and the Evening of The Deluge and Light And Color both by J.M.W Turner, they also took a painting by Casper David Friedrich. The Turners had been lent for an exhibition by Tate Gallery in London. The Friedrich belonged to the Kunsthalle Hamburg.

Another guard who was unable to reach his colleague by radio set off the gallery's alarm. The two masked criminals ran through the delivery entrance and escaped in a stolen car. Nearly nine years later, and after the Tate had shelled out almost $5 million for legal fees, travel expenses and expenses for information leading to the recovery of the Turners, The paintings were back on the walls in London.

The story of the investigation takes up the major part of Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners by Sandy Nairne, who coordinated the recovery. He was then director of programs for the Tate and is now director of London’s National Portrait Gallery. Nairne also explores other famous thefts, speculates about why thieves steal well-known works of art that cannot be sold, and raises ethical questions relating to fees and payments in art-recovery operations.

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