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Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners Paperback – August 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books; Reprint edition (August 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780230206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780230207
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,565,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'I was gripped by Sandy Nairne's matter-of-fact but hair-raising account of the efforts to reclaim the two Turners' - -- Phillip Hensher The Spectator 'In Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners, Sandy Nairne describes going underground to help recover the booty of a daring heist. Superheroes all.' - -- Elaine Showalter TLS 'a fascinating read, delving into some of the important moral issues associated with the paying of recovery fees.' - -- Alexander McCall Smith The Scotsman

About the Author

 

Sandy Nairne is director of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

 


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Burgis on September 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The title of my review may be a bit misleading. The first half of the book tells the story of the stolen Turner paintings, which I have not, in fact, read elsewhere. The problem is that it is very dry, especially in comparison to other books (nonfiction) that I have read about art crime. The second half of the book discusses other art thefts, such as the theft of the Mona Lisa and the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Those stories have all been told multiple times in other books, and in a much more entertaining fashion. I have read several books about art crime, but if this one was the first one I had picked up, I might not have ever read another. If you want to read the best books about art crime, try 1) Priceless, 2) Provenance, and 3) The Gardner Heist. Those are the best, in my opinion. The Rescue Artist is another good one, as is Hot Art. If you have already read this book and didn't like it, don't let it stop you from reading more about art crime. it is a fascinating topic and can be very exciting and entertaining if the stories are told the right way. Unfortunately, this book doesn't tell them very well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on January 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are responsible for keeping the contents of an art museum in the museum, this book would be an excellent one for you to read.

It falls short of being a great book due to its lack of clear focus. Its first, and stronger, part is the story of the work performed over many years leading to the return of two stolen J.M.W. Turner paintings to the Tate in London. Here the author, Sandy Nairne, was directly involved and provides an insiders' true, but sometimes plodding, account of the eventual complex recovery process of the two works, which were stolen while on loan in Germany. Issues of insurance and dealing with the police are nicely set forth.

I think the best part of the book is on the many ethical considerations that are raised and discussed about a high-profile recovery that entailed negotiations with a German attorney who held useful information on the crime. After large payments were made to him, the art was handed back to the Tate museum. Was this a permissible reward or an illegal ransom?

The book's second part is mostly a simple rehash of other important art crimes, whether true or as fictionally depicted in the movies. (Why is it necessary to talk about female police detectives?) This part does have some good discussion of why paintings by the masters are now valued so highly by society--and thieves--and what might be done, if anything, to better protect these works or capture the thugs who steal them.

An ethical point I think was overlooked by Mr. Nairne: Why was it permissible for the Tate to essentially lie to the press about the state of recovery, when it had in hand one of the two paintings?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is extremely entertaining.
It is a highly readable account of a complex set of circumstances.
The author does an excellent job of explaining various points of view of the subject throughout history, as well as various opinions expressed by people in a variety of fields.
About half of the book was the author's narrative devoted to recounting his involvement in the resolution of a particular theft.
The second part of the book was dedicated to an overview of similar famous cases.
The author presented a well-rounded, well-researched discussion regarding various theories of the motivations behind art crime, and how they are affected by changing trends in markets and societies.
The bibliography is impressive. I highly recommend this great read.
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By Amazon Customer on November 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting account of a major art theft from a curator who was at the center of the action although it diverges from the main story sometimes.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting the rather tedious path taken to the recovery of these two painting. After that they varaious parts will appeal to various groups - those interested in prices for art, auctions, cultural property, etc.
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