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Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists Hardcover – July 5, 2011

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Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists + The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade; 1st edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230108539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230108530
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A compelling story." – The Washington Post

"The book alternates between Rembrandt as a prime target of thieves and a broader examination of art thefts throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Amore and Mashberg smash myth after myth." – The Seattle Times

"[The authors] interview some of today’s highest-profile art thieves . . . The most absorbing part of the entire book is the verbatim testimony from Myles J. Connor about how he cased museums, identified security weaknesses, planned his operations, implemented them, and sought to profit from the art he stole." -- The Boston Globe

"Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg have a textured feel for Rembrandt's work." --The Wall Street Journal

"A quick and entertaining read." --The Christian Science Monitor

"This is a terrific book, and excellently researched." -- ARTnews

"A detailed look at numerous robberies targeting works by the great Dutch master over the past century. Combining impressive shoe-leather reporting skills with solid art-world knowledge, this fascinating book debunks many myths about museum heists while providing vivid profiles of the criminals and their motives . . . As Amore and Mashberg show, stealing a Rembrandt seldom pays off for the thieves but makes the world at large infinitely poorer. With hard facts and a cleareyed perspective, this book sets the record straight." —Associated Press

"The authors smash myth after myth, many of them the result of unrealistic movies of the James Bond variety ... An interesting mish-mash of everything related to the thievery of valuable art."-- Kirkus Reviews

"Art history meets C.S.I. in this account of the theft of works by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, the most prolific master painter of the Dutch Golden Age. Amore and Mashberg narrate heists ranging from noir to farce, weaving in details about the historical relevance of each work and background on the artist . . . The authors convey the importance of Rembrandt's works as historical and cultural touchstones and argue that art theft is a 'crime against all of us.'" -- Publishers Weekly

“A fast-paced and engrossing exposé of the shady underbelly of the art world.”—Robert K. Wittman, New York Times bestselling author of Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

"You don't have to appreciate art -- just entertaining true-crime stories -- to enjoy 'Stealing Rembrandts.' In this fast-moving account of some of the most daring art heists ever, art security expert Anthony Amore introduces a colorful real-life cast of sticky-fingered art-lovers you won't soon forget, especially the next time you find yourself in a museum checking out an exhibit of Old Masters, or new."--Howie Carr, bestselling author of Hitman and The Brothers Bulger

"Authors Amore & Mashberg are the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson of the art world. True masters in their own right, they provide an unvarnished look at some of history's most notorious art heists, separating fact from popular fiction and defeating the notion that art theft is a victimless crime. On the contrary, Stealing Rembrandts is proof that plundering art for profit is more dangerous than we could ever have imagined."--Casey Sherman, bestselling author of Search for the Strangler, Bad Blood and The Finest Hours

"People often ask me, 'Why would anyone steal a high-profile piece of art? What could they do with it?' If you want answers read Stealing Rembrandts. This finely crafted chronicle of a century of Rembrandt thefts gives the reader rare and intimate access to the strange milieu of the art heist."--Rebecca Dreyfus,

Stealing Rembrandts offers a rare inside look into a world few of us know beyond headlines and Hollywood. By weaving together Rembrandt’s own story with exclusive interviews and insights into the men who have stolen his masterpieces, authors Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg do a masterful job of connecting the artist and his thieves across the centuries. Along the way, they explode myths and reveal the true nature of the criminals and their crimes. Most of us can’t hope to hang a Rembrandt on our walls, but the good news is that we can eagerly add this book to our collections.”--Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La

"Stealing Rembrandts is thoroughly researched and filled with memorable characters.  It is a fascinating and entertaining read."—Milton Esterow, publisher of ARTnews


About the Author

Anthony M. Amore is the head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and contributes to the Boston Herald and Huffington Post. He serves as trustee of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art and lectures widely on art crime.

Tom Mashberg is an award-winning investigative reporter and the former Sunday Editor for the Boston Herald. During his 30-year career he has reported for The New York Times and The Boston Globe, as well as writing for Vanity Fair and many other publications. He was called “the quintessential newspaperman” by FOX-TV’s America’s Most Wanted.

More About the Author

Anthony M. Amore is the head of security and chief investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He has been described in the book "Art & Crime" as ""among the most innovative, and most effective, museum security directors in the world." He also heads the museum's own investigation into the infamous theft of 13 priceless works for art from the Gardner-- the largest property theft in world history.

Prior to joining the Gardner Museum, Anthony was an assistant director with the Transportation Security Administration where he helped to rebuild security at Logan Airport after the tragic events of 9/11. He is also a former special agent with the Federal Aviation Administration, where he was the lead agent responding to the Richard Reid "shoebomber" attack.

He serves as trustee of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art and lectures widely on art crime. He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.

Customer Reviews

I have read dozens if not hundreds of art books of all persuasions for 25 years.
Readers interested in Art History and True Crime will enjoy the stories of the stolen works, their recovery, the investigations and why Rembrandt.
A surprisingly gripping and very informative read, full of interesting characters.
N. Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The first version of the story you hear is always wrong." Although movies makes stealing art look upper crust, Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg prove time and again that art thievery is generally low class crooks looking to make a buck. They aren't interested in the art, it's just that art museums, unlike a bank, are not secure and therefore make stealing a Rembrandt much easier than stealing a million dollars.

That makes it a double crime because the thieves have so little understanding of the masterpiece they are making off with that they are willing to cut it from its frame, roll it up and stash it under beds and behind sofas. Not a good way to deal with four and five hundred year old masterpieces! And why Rembrandts? Why not Titian or Fra Angelico? It is simply that most people are familiar with the name Rembrandt as a fine artist.

But any semi intelligent person would realize the difficulty of reselling such obvious well known works of art. The pieces are generally recovered very quickly and if not a generation will go by before they are recovered.

I was intrigued to read of the problem with etchings. It has never occurred to me but it makes sense, because an etching can be reprinted over and over again, a new print of a Rembrandt etching can easily be inserted into a collection to replace a stolen one. The difference can sometimes be seen easily but not necessarily. The four hundred year old hand-made paper is usually the give away.

I appreciated these authors' interesting details about the art itself, its history and its importance along with the art crime. I had to google Portrait of a Young Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak. A Boston art dealer, Robert C.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Suzinne Barrett VINE VOICE on June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My interest in this book stems from viewing a CNBC's American Greed episode detailing the spectacular heist of Boston's Isabella Stewart Museum that went down in the dead of night on March 18, 1990. The thieves targeted 13 very specific artworks, including major Rembrandts, while leaving very valuable works intact on the walls. The thieves did their dirty work by cruelly slashing the desired paintings from their mountings. This book offers details surrounding the resulting investigations and was written in collaboration with the security director of the Isabella Stewart Museum, Anthony Amore, who became employed w/ the museum post-robbery. This particular crime remains unsolved and, from what I understand, the museum has chosen to leave the empty frames of the stolen paintings as is, in memorium for their much loved and lost masterpieces.

Another famous heist that occurred in the Taft Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, has a chapter and another section concentrates on robberies from (upper crusty) private homes. For an international perspective, there are chapters regarding foreign thefts in Britain and Sweden.

As this book is highly detailed, it is not suggested as a light read. So, while it might not be light and fluffy, it's a plus for people like me who love viewing the deviants of this world through a magnifying glass.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Bell VINE VOICE on June 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Authors, Mashberg (a journalist for The Boston Herald) and Amore (Security Director for The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston) combined their prodigious talents to create this very interesting investigation into all of the paintings (and etchings) by Rembrandt that have been stolen, worldwide, throughout history.

This relatively small book is encyclopedic in scope. Chapter Notes give insight into the remarkably wide net cast by the authors. In-depth research and first-person interviews allowed them to synthesize information and come to some fascinating conclusions which address, among other questions: Who steals art and why do they steal it? When was art stolen and where was it stolen from? Has all of the stolen art been recovered? Do art heists pay? Along with Rembrandt's paintings, what other art has been stolen (or left behind)? What is the psychology behind art theft? How are thefts investigated and by whom? How do art experts determine whether paintings were created by Rembrandt or his students?

There is even a list of 81 Rembrandt paintings (the "first-ever accounting of its kind") of all known thefts from 1920 through a few years ago, "compiled by the authors using original research, news reports, academic journals, and law enforcement data-bases."

While I was in awe of this scope, my favorite part of "Stealing Rembrandts" was, by far, the mini-biography of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn interspersed throughout. Accounts of museum guards with moxie and law enforcement agents with skill and imagination were also quite interesting. With one exception, I was somewhat exasperated reading about the petty thieves who actually managed to abscond with valuable Rembrandt paintings, sometimes damaging them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. Baker VINE VOICE on June 6, 2011
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Whether you are a true crime fan or an art enthusiast, this is a fascinating read. Like many I really didn't expect so many art thefts to be a smash and grab deal or no more thought out then a retail theft is some cases. The author does a great job profiling the criminals, investigators and museums involved and it's astounding that it still happens and sometimes repeatedly at the same place to the same paintings. He also thoroughly recounts Rembrandt's life and why art fans and thieves find him so alluring. The sheer value of his art is probably enough to make most consider swiping something of his out of a private home or museum. It is truly heart breaking to think of the art not recovered or destroyed and that no one will ever be able to enjoy it again. It really is a crime against everyone.
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