As you’ve probably noticed, art and cultural heritage are very important to me, so I take it extremely seriously when people threaten them. I think I’ve pretty well established that I love mysteries, but I’m quite sure that the lifestyle of a detective at all suit me. Instead, I choose to educate myself and my readers about the equal-parts thrilling, fascinating, and tragic stories of art crimes past and present, including theft, forgery, war looting, and destruction.
Explore some of these art mysteries yourself by browsing my category Art Crimes, the highlights of which are listed below. My ample book recommendations on the subject can be found through my Goodreads shelf Art Crimes Awareness.
- A Brief History of Art Forgery in Four Crazy Case Studies. Of all forms of art crime, art forgery definitely makes for the most interesting stories. I profiled of the twentieth century’s most brilliant and famous forgers in this piece for HeadStuff.org.
- Cultural Heritage in Peril: Ancient Victims of Modern War in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the violent theft and destruction of cultural heritage is in no way a thing of the past. Numerous artifacts and monuments, including many from the oldest known civilizations, have been obliterated in the past few years. I wrote this article on the topic for HeadStuff.org about a year ago. Much has happened since then, but it’s become so devastating that at the moment, I can’t bring myself to look into it any further.
- A True Art Adventure: The Real-Life Story of the Monuments Men. Before they were the subject of a major motion picture starring George Clooney, the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives section (the Monuments Men) was a small group of Allied art specialists who worked tirelessly to protect Western Europe’s cultural heritage during World War Two and to repatriate stolen art and artifacts afterwards. Their story has all the adventure, and heroism you could want in any good action movie. This was also my first article for HeadStuff.org.
- Rose Valland – Art Spy Extraordinaire. French art historian Rose Valland was an unlikely hero of World War Two, whose four years inside the Nazi art looting establishment helped preserve countless treasures of European art history. Look for me to write more about her in the near future.