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Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Stolen, Smuggled Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures tells the dark and compelling stories of iconic cultural objects that were stolen, smuggled or sold, and eventually returned back to their original owner.

There are many books about museum heists, Holocaust artwork, insider theft, trafficking in antiquities, and stolen Native American objects. Now, there’s finally a
Published June 4th 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield
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Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
A very nice read, but do be informed that it doesn’t deal only with art pieces but also with stolen audio topes, an Indian cultural relic, and more. The book raises an important and interesting question about rights and possession of artifacts with historical value. Who should own them, are they public? What if they were stolen in war but now presented in a museum? Do the ancestors of the original owner have a right to own the pirate back (of course they do), etc...

I’ve found most chapters
Anson Cassel Mills
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This short book by an experienced non-profit consultant provides good summaries of recent incidents involving the wayward handling of cultural properties, including the manuscript of Pearl Buck’s Good Earth, a horde of obscure recordings stolen by a curator, a Lakota Ghost Dance shirt repatriated from Scotland, a sideshow mummy elevated to royalty, the financing of terrorism with dawn-of-civilization Iraqi artifacts, and Gustav Klimt’s famous “Woman in Gold” painting, ever so slowly liberated ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting read. In a way it almost reads like a travelogue if the route you're traveling is Nancy Moses' research. In the introduction she sets up the How and Why of this book: research for a potential story for her previous book Lost in the Museum (absolutely amazing btw) was being stonewalled and it piqued her curiosity. From there she was able to devote more time and delve even further into the subject of repatriating cultural objects. Every chapter is like that. Moses ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Stolen, Smuggled, Sold: On the Hunt for Cultural Treasures features true stories in which the author, Nancy Moses, traces the theft of seven irreplaceable cultural treasures, their recovery and eventual repatriation back to their original owners and/or in one particularly heartbreaking incident (the Ghost Dance Shirt), its point of origin and its people.

The stories include:

1. Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1
2. The typeset manuscript for Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth
3. The
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was not as I expected it to be. The details of research and descriptions of the art/treasures were good, more than adequate. But somehow the whole just didn't hang together and continuity was missing. Different tangents intersecting against the flow, IMHO.

This was hardcover and the photo plates were excellent, that's why I picked it up. But I was almost warned in the long Introduction that this would wander. If you have intense interest in paintings, museum pieces' history and what was
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. This was a fascinating read for the most part. However, it was much different than I anticipated. I expected the book to be more general, detailing the black market with regard to fine art. The author focused on several specific pieces / artifacts, & their journeys from being stolen, smuggled, sold, & then ultimately returned to their rightful owners.

It wasn’t a bad book. It just did not feel cohesive for me. I struggled to finish it. I would often get confused as the author
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a fairly good book, but not the strongest I've ever read. Some of the items were more interesting than others and I could tell that the author felt that was as well. The book, even though it's recent, also felt a bit dated because of current events. I certainly felt much less sympathetic to the North Carolina archivist once the book told me they'd put up civil war battle flags. Current events leave me much less sympathetic to those who spend time glorifying white supremacist history.

Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
Reads like fiction. An overview of some major cases of the last few decades including the return of North Carolina’s Bill of Rights, a ghost dance shirt, the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a Royal mummy and more. A good condensed look at what made these cases compelling and how they reached their conclusions.
My only quibble: this book needs a finer edit. The author had the director of the Glasgow museum as both Lucian and Julian and regularly mixed up reparations and repatriation. Overall,
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well-researched but unevenly told. Each object provides a basic background in acquisition, provenance, and ethics, and can act as a springboard for a wider story.

However, a nit-picky detail: missing-word errors pop up so frequently that it's like dodging shrapnel. One or two you can skip over, but one or two errors in each chapter brought down the whole book.
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting stuff. I like the author's conversational approach to recounting history. 3.5 stars.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
very interesting
Marathon County Public Library
Moses is a woman intimately familiar with museums and the world of art. In this book she explores the rather shadowy world of art, ownership by individuals and museums, and acquisitions of spectacularly famous and valuable items under sometimes questionable methods. The book is divided into eight separate chapters covering the discovery, ownership, disappearance, and efforts to return oft times historic, cultural and artistic icons to their rightful owners. Each chapter reads like a mystery ...more
Mary Fitzgerald
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After seeing Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren earlier this year, I could not wait to get my hands on Nancy Moses' latest creation that rips the veil off of the political, cultural and institutional dealings that have tramped on personal and national property rights for centuries. The author's second book follows Lost in the Museum: Buried Treasures and the Stories They tell, a fascinating tour of nine museums and their hidden treasures not seen by the public. Stolen, Smuggled and Sold focuses ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
As an archivist/librarian I really enjoyed this book. the ethical dilemma of stolen or missing artifacts is not something I've had to deal with really, but it was a lot of fun and new information about cultural history and the extent people have gone to get it back.
Anne D.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific book. Each chapter is an engaging detective story about a museum object....a painting, a mummy, a warrior's shirt (and more)...tracking its path to the museum and back to its owner. Along the way the author gives us a wonderful historical overview of the circumstances that surrounded the creation of the object and its historical path. I loved the history in this book and the rich understanding to be gained of the inner workings of museums, and the economics of stolen ...more
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Stolen, Smuggled, Sold by Nancy Moses. Each chapter was about a cultural treasures that had been stolen, smuggled or sold. The book read like a detective story. N Moses wrote about the item and people involved, gave the history and then proceeded to solve the situation. It is a very interesting book, especially if you like non-fiction, learning about different things and mysteries.

I would recommend Stolen, Smuggled, Sold by N Moses.
Anjaana Chadha
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very insightful. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating account of stolen cultural property and their safe return to original owners or countries.
Makes you think twice about provenance when visiting a museum
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Weaker than other books I have read on the subject.
Eunice Hayes
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Jul 10, 2018
Claire Dickhut
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Rachel Dukeman
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Jul 23, 2015
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Apr 29, 2018
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