Thursday, February 15, 2007

After Nearly Thirty Years, Cezanne Goes Home

It’s amazing to me just how long stolen pieces of art can remain hidden. Good grief, people are still uncovering art lost or stolen during World War II. The particular piece I’m talking about today is a 29.3 million dollar still life by Paul Cezanne that was taken in 1978, along with six other paintings.

Evidently the owner of the painting, Michael Backwin, feels the same amazement. In a press release, he stated, “People seem to get away with all kinds of stuff when it comes to art robbery.”

What’s so convoluted about this recovery is that the guy arrested with the painting at Boston’s Logan Airport on Tuesday, February 13, isn’t the original thief. He’s the thief’s lawyer!

The burglar who took the paintings was killed over a gambling debt just a year after the heist. (Rather a character-revealing way to go, eh?) And his shyster lawyer’s been wiggling around trying to find a way to fence the goods ever since. His latest brainstorm was to broker a deal with the owner, Backwin, using a Panamanian corporation as a front. Well, Mr. Clever Barrrister, got the handcuffs instead.

Greed is greed, is greed, is greed!

There’s a bunch more to the tale, and the Art Loss Register played a key role in the recovery. If you’re into art (as you probably are if you’re reading this blog), you might want to check out the ALR site. They’ve got some pretty cool information over there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jill, You won the drawing for Kathryn Porter's Unclutter book. Can you email me with your mailing address?