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Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  625 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
A spellbinding journey into the high-stakes world of art theft

Today, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted.
In Stealing Rembrandts, art security expert Anthony M. Amore and award-wi
ebook, 272 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by St. Martin's Press
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Lance Charnes
Aug 26, 2015 Lance Charnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: art-crime buffs who want a narrower focus
In 2005, Anthony Amore took on the second least desirable job in the museum world: security director at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (Least desirable: being security director in 1990 when thieves stole 13 artworks from the museum, at $350 million the single largest heist in American history.) As part of his effort to try to recover the stolen paintings, he began to study a very narrow niche of the art-crime world -- thefts of Rembrandts. Stealing Rembrandts is the result of his home ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Jimmy marked it as partially-read  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: This is NOT a real review because I never finished the book. I LOVE heists, so I thought this would be a good book to read. But I realized my error upon reading the first few chapters.

The author is intent on destroying the myths around heists... but that's the part I love about heists! Their mythical power! He's like "your concept of a heist is probably tainted by hollywood, let me show you how unglamorous and anticlimactic it really is."

The author has all the entirely wrong attitud
This is such a rich subject that it was disappointing how flat and dull this book was. Yes, yes, I know it was written by a security expert and not a New Yorker writer but ... There is very little compelling history of the artwork itself and the description of the many thefts (Rembrandt works are apparently stolen more than any other works of art, because there are so many of them and because they have such a high value) is laid out in a kind of scattershot way that makes it hard to follow and a ...more
Rick F.
Oct 03, 2011 Rick F. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A spellbinding journey into the high-stakes world of art theft

"Today, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted."

A truly thrilling and extremely facinating foray into a much under-appreciated issue- the theft of priceless paintings. Mr. Amore- who certainly knows from what he writes about- has managed to mak
Jonathan Lopez
Jul 10, 2011 Jonathan Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-history, art, crime
In 1997, a gang of criminals escorted Boston Herald Sunday Editor Tom Mashberg to an undisclosed warehouse and showed him an old master oil painting.

Inspecting the painting by flashlight, Mashberg believed it to be Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, famously stolen, along with several other priceless pictures, from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Since Mashberg’s possible sighting, the missing Gardner artworks have gone back underground, and the crime remain
Aug 12, 2011 Marion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 21, 2013 Artguy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't know why I have been obsessed with reading about art thefts. Don't get the wrong idea-- I am not planning a major heist! However, I do find it intriguing, a bit like my fascination with being stranded alone on an island.

This book focuses on Rembrandt paintings and etchings that have been stolen over the years. Sprinkled in it are tales from the life of Rembrandt himself, which were some of my favorite portions of the book. Even so, there are some interesting tales of criminals and how th
Margo Brooks
An entertaining book about the daring and bumbling theft of Rembrandt's works of art from around the world. This book highlights both the vulnerability of great master works, as well as the impossibility of selling such works on the black market. Additionally, the motivation of the criminals, from money, to dissatisfaction with government are quite eye opening. Although the book was cowritten by the current chief of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, home of one of the mo ...more
Dec 30, 2013 Roger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After attending an entertaining talk given by the author on the subject matter in the book, my wife and I purchased a copy from Mr. Amore. Having visited the Gardener Museum many times over the years and being a life long admirer of Rembrandt's paintings, this well researched book that chronicles the surprising number of thefts of the master's works, is a great read for any lover of Rembrandt, fine art, and un solved mysteries.
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
"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
This book is such a disappointment. It should have been a can't-put-down sort of book: it has true crime, exotic locales, master criminals -- and I was bored to tears. I can't quite pin down why. Somehow, the writing was tedious. Read for the information. Don't read it to be enthralled.
Nov 10, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
thanks for the free book. Entertaining read! The book dismantles the notion of the debonair art thief and the high tech caper (sorry whitecollar fans!).
The best thing about Stealing Rembrandts was that I learned quite a bit about Rembrandt and developed an appreciation for his work. I read this book with a phone or computer next to me - which is extremely unusual for me - because I looked up almost every painting that was mentioned.

The authors are well-qualified did their research well. Anthony Amore worked as Security Director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (well after the famous 1990 theft), and Tom Mashberg is a Boston reporter who
Jun 23, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an entertaining little book I found in our camp community library. I didn't expect too much going in but I wasn't disappointed. The different thefts are presented well, they cover Hollywood stereotypes of art theft, and it's to compare what went wrong in each. There's a background story to each work to give greater context.

This is for someone who already has a casual interest in art; if you're an actual scholar you might want a little more depth. I'd heard of the Boston thefts and it wa
Apr 06, 2016 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony M. Smite, head of security at the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, fifteen years after the March 18, 1990 unrecovered heist of thirteen works of art including three Rembrandts, teams up with Tom Mash erg, former Sunday editor of the Boston Herald, to investigate all the known Rembrandt thefts and those that were recovered, looking for similarities and clues. Many were returned, it seems easier to steal art than to turn a profit in it. Fascinating and thorough read as well as lo ...more
Oct 31, 2015 Jean-Philippe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: criminology, art
Stealing Rembrandts was a fun book that kept me interested, but had some pretty massive holes that I didn't expect. First, it's basically one big warning to would-be thieves that crime doesn't pay. Amore is obsessed with pointing out that most people who steal artwork don't have any idea what to do with it, and so they end up just holding onto or destroying any art that they're not caught with. If they're caught, they do to jail. I know Rembrandts weren't the target, and this book is alllll abou ...more
Aug 31, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
Stealing works of art has been happening since man started expressing himself in forms of art. Surprisingly enough, to me personally, is the fact that Rembrandt’s works are among the most often stolen. This book details some of the most famous of those thefts and notorious art thieves in the past century.

Mr. Amore is a security expert and currently head of security at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. Mr. Mashberg is a veteran investigative reporter. Drawing on their vast experience they wr
Jul 16, 2011 Grady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Art and Crime and Intrigue

Anthony M Amore and Tom Mashberg have compiled a history of art theft that is as entertaining as it is astonishing. Amore is the security director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston - the location where 13 art works including two Rembrandt paintings and an etching caused an uproar in 1990: Mashberg is the investigative reporter and Sunday editor of the Boston Herald. These two gentlemen have as much intelligent information about the psychology and perpetr
I got an advance reader's copy of this at work. While it was an illuminating look at a side of the art world that I was previously unfamiliar with, there were almost TOO many instances of theft examined in the book. Everything got a bit repetitive and started running together. And while the book claimed to be primarily a response to the 1990 Isabella Gardner Museum robbery, which remains unsolved, very little of the book dealt with that specific case.

I did enjoy reading about the two thieves th
Nov 08, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I like Rembrandt’s art, but I don’t love it like I do other artists’ work (museums of the world, your Rembrandts are safe from me) but I still thought this would be an interesting book to read.

I didn’t know a lot about Rembrandt’s life or artwork, and while this wasn’t a complete history, I did learn more about the artist and his work, the types of pieces he created, how many pieces he created and their value.

I wish the authors would have included a brief bio of Rembrandt at the beginning of the
Dec 26, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Art Enthusiasts
I have been a fan of art and art history since taking an art history class in high school. I have enjoyed reading novels based on the life of artists or works that they created, however this is the first book I have read about art heists. Art theft is extremely common, much more so that I had thought – apparently enough art is stolen to warrant an FBI art crime team! Stealing Rembrandts looks at some of the major art heists that have involved at least one work by Rembrandt as one of the victims. ...more
Despite some awful editing (I feel like the editor just put the final draft through MS Word, and didn't actually read it!), the book was really enjoyable. I learned A LOT about Rembrandt and his life, which was unexpected, but not very much about the ISG heist, which was unexpected. However, I understand now why the authors chose not to devote much book to the Gardner Museum fiasco, since there really isn't much of a story to tell until (someday!) those lost items are recovered. Otherwise, thoug ...more
Melanie Linn
Sep 21, 2011 Melanie Linn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
"Stealing Rembrandts" is an informative book, as one would expect from a tome co-written by a journalist and a museum security expert. While it is a fascinating look into the inner workings of art crime (and into the tragedy of Old Master thefts), it does become a bit repetitive. The most engaging portion of the book is the chapter that debunks the myth of a greedy "Dr. No" character trying to hoard these priceless works for him or herself. After that, it is quite a formulaic rendering of Rembra ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Ms.pegasus rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Rembrandt
The authors caution us that art thefts are not the meticulously planned affairs as depicted in the movies. The typical art thief is a petty low-life more familiar with crowbars and drills than locks and building schematics. Thus, at least one type of reader who might be attracted to this type of book will leave disappointed, despite the alluring title.

Their point is that even the most ignorant thief will probably have heard of Rembrandt, and surmise that such works are valuable. This is as far a
Brad Dunn
I thought this book would be interesting to check out; I don't know much about Rembrandt, or art theft. This book is a historical reflection on the artist, and why he excelled during the Dutch golden age, his life, what made his work so important, and in turn, so valuable. There are around 2,000 works by Rembrandt, but interestingly a huge amount have been stolen and some are still missing. The book tracks the major heists and examines the motives of art theft. Why do criminals take million doll ...more
Jun 27, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating, well-researched and well-written book about art theft. To be able to touch upon even a fraction of art thefts from around the world, it focuses specifically on thefts of works by Rembrandt (or those believed to be by Rembrandt), including thefts that were successful and some that went comically wrong. I had no idea how truly pervasive art theft is and the wide variety of ways it can be carried out, let alone some of the horrible conditions that stolen works of art have bee ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Vivian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I have a passing interest in art history, this book more than fulfilled it, providing well researched background information on the pieces covered in this book. I would say that aspect is a little too well done. Sometimes the background information would drag on bog down the stories of the heists. As a consequence, it did take me a lot longer than I had wished to finish this book.

I do like that there are pictures of the paintings as well as other relevant objects included in the book, beca
Arlene Hayman
Although the topic of this book was fascinating, I was a bit bored reading it, as the authors briefly told about case after case of art heists in which Rembrandt art works came up stolen and missing. By the end of the book, my attention waned. However, when the authors presented information from interviews with Florian "Al" Monday, I was mesmerized by the profile of a highly intelligent man who chose to use his intellect to steal invaluable art objects. It seemed to be a tragedy that in the end, ...more
Jan 21, 2014 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
So I just finished "Stealing Rembrandt's" by Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg and I really enjoyed it! It's a fascinating read about a few masterpiece thefts with the overall them that there is no "Dr. No" stealing paintings to be hidden away for his own enjoyment but the stories of thieves driven by simple greed, all of which end badly for the thieves. While it can be a bit wordy in parts overall "Stealing Rembrandt's" is a great read. I especially enjoyed reading about the Worcester Art Museum h ...more
Apr 04, 2015 E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geekery, library
Great fun to learn about the history of art heists and about Rembrandt as a painter. Learned all kinds of odd facts- there's a painting that's been stolen from a museum in Dulwich England, four times! Dubbed, affectionately, the Takeaway Rembrandt. Heh. And etchings are easier to steal than paintings (no surprise there.) Surprised to learn that art crime doesn't seem to have changed all that much in the digital age. Still a heist is a good old fashioned heist.
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Anthony M. Amore is a columnist with the Boston Herald and the head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 2005, where he is charged with efforts to recover 13 works of art stolen on March 18, 1990. He regularly blogs for The Huffington Post, drawing on his 15 years of national security, law, intelligence and crisis management experience with two federal government agencies, incl ...more
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