Friends of Linebaugh Library's Reviews > Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft

Museum of the Missing by Simon Houpt
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's review
Feb 24, 2011

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This is an interesting book about the history of art theft and the crazy things people do, and ultimately the loss to everyone when cultural objects are stolen. It is pretty fascinating even if you're interested art history at all. It is a history of art thefts, some solved, many still open, and concludes with a wonderful appendix of a "museum of the missing" - color plates of works still lost to theft.

It inspired the documentary "The Rape of Europa," although the movie focused only on art stolen during WWII. That was the most compelling chapter of this book as well, but the information about modern art detectives was also fascinating. I enjoyed his diatribes against the glamorization of art thieves in Hollywood. This was a good overview of the subject; however, I felt that reading Museum of the Missing felt a little like reading a high school text book entitled "Introduction to Art Theft." It was a fascinating topic, and the book was full of interesting stories and lots of beautiful pictures, but I was left wanting more. It was much like watching a show about art theft on Discovery or History channel where you are left lacking in content and information. I felt that it needed to go more in-depth, however, that could just be because I got my degree in Art History. All in all, my favorite part was the gallery of missing art at the end of the book.

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