Search for the World's Most Wanted Art

This is a journalistic inquiry by  Saz Productions, Inc. to acquire information for a  television  & new media production.  In the process we hope to publicize lost art and offer assistance towards its recovery.  Collectors, journalists, researchers, and others with questions or contributions e-mail

*December 2002 -
Another major art theft occures as the year comes to a close.  Thieves broke into the Vincent Van Gogh Museum stealing two works by the famous Dutch artist.  This same museum was struck in 1991 by a theft of twenty (20) Van Goghs.  In that incident, the thieves abandoned the get away car still filled with stolen paintings.  Everything was recovered within thirty five minutes of the theft.  As of this writing, the crime remains unsolved. For links and information about this and other recent art crimes see major art thefts of 2002

*November 2002 -
Welcome to readers from the recent INTERPOL fifth international symposium on stolen works of art, antiquities, and cultural property
.  We share in the belief that publicity is an important aspect of art recovery.  To assist in these matters (thus far) this site publishes the web's most comprehensive guide to stolen art web-sites and index of major art crimes. 

Our thanks to symposium presenter Ton Cremers (museum consultant & moderator of the Museum Security Network
) for acknowledging our contributions to this field of study.  We applaud INTERPOL for their efforts in fighting the trafficking of illicit cultural property. 

*October 2002 -
This past month saw another art theft from the Russborough house.  The Irish estate of the late Lord Alfred Beit was hit for the forth time since 1974.  This time thieves removed five paintings by Rubens,Van Ostedt, Van Ruysdale, & Van de Velde
.  On a more positive note two paintings (a Gainsborough and Belloto) stolen from Russborough in 2001 were recovered this past month.  This is also the same Russborought estate noted in Septembers update.

*September 2002 -
Two significant European recoveries took place this past month.  First, a Rubens portrait taken from Ireland's Russborough house
back in 1986 (by the late Martin "The General" Cahill) was recovered see RTE.  Next, a Titian belonging to Britain's Marquis of Bath was recovered.  Our congratulations go out to Charlie Hill (formerly of Scotland Yard's Art & Antiques Squad) for recovering "Rest on the Flight to Egypt".

This month we've increased our coverage of stolen fossils
, now posting better information concerning specific missing specimens.  Also, a thanks goes to USATODAY for recently selecting us as one of their web guide's hot sites.

*August 2002 -
We continue to update our many web-pages.  This past month  major art crimes
were reported in Johannesburg South Africa and Asuncion Paraguay.  It seems the Southern hemisphere is showing a little too much action.  Maybe its the weather or something...then again a museum in Budapest Hungary was also hit so there goes that theory.

For optimists please remember that thieves often get caught.  Sixteen people were just put on trial in France for their involvement in the famous chateau thefts of the late 1990's.

And on a unrelated and much belated media note, we thank WTTW (PBS) Chicago for featuring us in a recent "Art Beat Chicago
" segment on the topic of art theft.

*July 2002 -
Another month past and another major crime solved.  Congratulations to the FBI and Guardia Civil for a successful sting operation.  They recovered ten valuable paintings stolen in Madrid.
last August.  On the other side of the ledger, a bronze statue by Alberto Giacometti was taken from Hamburg Germany.  In it's place, the thieves left an inexact wooden copy.  So it goes....

*June 2002 -
This past month was notable for European art recoveries.  First, a six year crime spree by fine arts kleptomaniac Stephane "the waiter" Breitwieser has come to a halt.  The thief took 172 objects from art collections through out Europe.  (see Swiss link
in French)

What makes this case most  unusual is the reaction of Breiwiser's mother.  Enraged that her son had been storing stolen goods in her home, she went about destroying or tossing away her sons ill gotten treasures.  Fortunately, most of the 112 objects she threw into the  local canal  have been recovered.  Unfortunately she cut, smashed, and threw away 60 irreplaceable antique European paintings including works by Lucas Cranach, Pieter Brueghel, Corneille de Lyon,  François Boucher, David Teniers, Jean-Antoine Watteau, Pieter Codde and more.

Also the nine paintings recently stolen from Berlin's Brukemuseum have been recovered. Although one of the artworks (by Max Pechstine) was cut, in comparison to Mrs. Breitwieser handy work, this doesn't seem so bad.

*May 2002 -
It seems that many people (mostly artists) have posted private web-pages concerning their lost, stolen, and missing art.  To more easily examine those postings, we are experimenting with a new page listing private "lost" art notices

As to great thefts, nine (9) German expressionist paintings were stolen from a suburban Berlin museum this past month.  For details about this crime see 2002's most wanted art
.  Our search for lost art continues...
*April 2002 -
It's as if we are swimming in too much information.  This month we present a newly organized page devoted to our stolen art

As to current events, this past month saw a major theft from the Frans Hals Museum
in Haarlem (Holland). There have also been some significant recoveries in Italy.  Good or bad, it seems there is always breaking news on the art theft beat.

*March 2002 -
It is said, you've got to give a little to get a little.  This month we debut our "Million Dollar Artists" Art Crime Index
.  This feature is still under construction so additions, deletions, and tips are appreciated.  This information is presented to promote and support our television project - which is still in the workings. 

On the art theft front, five paintings including a Jan Breughel and Anders Zorn were stolen from an art fair outside of Stockholm.  You can read about this and other crimes on our page of 2002's Most Wanted Art.

*February 2002 -
An interesting art recovery took place this past month.  Chagall's "Study for Over Vitebsk" stolen from Manhattan's Jewish Museum last year, was found by employees in the US Postal service's dead & undeliverable letter department.  I only mention this because it's some what odd to find a million dollar painting in the mail.

*January 2002 -

Hello to all attendees of this years NATPE.
  As with book publishing, an increasing number of video titles are being devoted to the art mystery genre.  We at Saz Productions believe that non-fiction programs relating to matters of art theft and forgery should be further developed.  If you would like to discuss these matters, please contact 12 time Chicago Emmy Award winning producer Harvey Moshman who is representing us in these matters.

Jonathan Sazonoff

Archive: 2001 UPDATES

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