Search for the World's Most Wanted Art
2003'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, police, and others with questions or contributions e-mail 

* December 2003-
This past month saw some interesting developments on the art theft beat.  First, congratulations go out to the French police. The violent "H Gang" responsible for stealing the valuable Lévy (Lacoste Sportswear) art collection was arrested Paris.  Police recovered two hundred and fifty eight (258) artworks
including pieces by Buffet, Cézanne, Dufy, Picasso, Van Dongen.

Next, Russian police recovered two "Rodins."  The bronze sculptures had been stolen from a Volgograd Museum in November 2000.  Although reported as being an original of "la Jalousie" (1899) and Rodin's copy of his own "Baiser" (1899), officials at the Rodin Museum dispute that claim
.  The Russian museum appears to have lost (and now found) valuable copies of the artists famous works.  I guess sometimes things are not what they appear to be. 

Keeping with that theme, in Osaka Japan, thieves stole 74 works of art by noted forger Elmyr de Hory.  Among the works were masterful copies of paintings by Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh.  Think of  it, these thieves could flood the black market with fakes.  How's that for a plot twist? 

Elsewhere, Antwerp Belgium's Diamond Museum lost a collection of art deco jewelry
valued at one million Euros.  In the US, this past month's art crimes include a big (10' x 14' valued at $80,000) painting of a reclining woman by Marceli Suchorowski reported stolen in Portland Oregon and a Jack Van Ryder Landscape painting reported missing in Tucson Arizona.  And finally in New York, JFK airport cargo handlers were arrested in theft of $1.5 million Lucian Freud painting.

* November 2003-

Thankfully this past month was quiet on the art theft beat, unless of course you were a victim.  In Italy some 2,700 Roman coins were stolen from the Trinci Palace in Foligno.  In Brazil historic maps and plates were stolen from a library and in Turkey 178 Iznik tiles (Turkish 16th  century) are missing from the Ulu Mosque in Adana. 

It's nice to also report occasional victories.  A Mayan alter
was recovered in Guatemala,
a Buddha mask was returned to Nepal, and one of one of two valuable  Mickey Mouse paintings "Seaside Romance" by Christian Riese Lassen, was recovered in Las Vegas.  Lastly, British police have arrested (and now released on bail) three suspects in connection with June's theft raid on the Rothschild collection

* October 2003 -
Nothing too grand went missing this past month.  A small blue sapphire
worth $1,250,000, a statue of Buddha, a statue of Vishnu, and even a couple of Mickey Mouse paintings are noted on the loss side of the ledger.  On the other side of that ledger, a lost Rubens was discovered in Russia, while a work by Maxfield Parrish, and the "Lady of Warka" were recovered.

Next item of interest, AAM's Nazi-Era Provenance Internet Portal has recently come on line.  Their mission is "to provide a searchable registry of objects in U.S. museum collections that changed hands in Continental Europe during the Nazi era (1933-1945)."

As to major cases, there has been some news about the Leonardo Da Vinci painting stolen in Scotland.  The crime was recreated for British TV "Crimewatch"  and police continue following up on leads.  Although there is debate as to whether the painting is really by the master, a Scottish newspaper has reported the reward to be one million pounds.  Unfortunately, with so many recent thefts offering significant rewards, we have now added a page listing Major Rewards
.  If anyone knows of items to be added or deleted to this list, please contact us via e-mail.

* September 2003 -
A major theft closed out this past month.  Leonardo Da Vinci's "Madonna with Infant Holding a Yarnwinder" made it to our list of 2003's Most Wanted Art
. The rare Leonardo painting  was taken from public display at the Duke of Buccleuch's Scottish castle.

Elsewhere, the last painting still outstanding from the 1994 Schirn Kunsthall theft
,  Casper David Friedrich's "Nebelschwaden" was recovered closing the case on the infamous Turner affair. 

Next state-side in South Carolina, the Bellefield House at Hobcaw Barony
lost 11 art works including several first edition John Audubon prints.  Fortunately, there has been a partial recovery but most items remain unaccounted for.

Finally, our thanks to the web-editors at the BBC
for recently linking to this site as part of their coverage of the Leonardo Da Vinci theft.  Any help in getting out the word is most appreciated.

*August 2003 -
This past month was rather slow on the art theft beat.  Recent items gone missing include a dinosaur fossil
stolen in Australia and two Picasso prints stolen in Austin Texas.  As to noted recoveries, a statue of Gogol's Nose was recovered in Russia, and three French artworks (stolen from an Argentinean Museum in 1980) were recovered in Paris.

FYI - this month we've tentatively added a page about stolen gems and minerals
.  Despite this small divergence, this site remains dedicated to covering the field of stolen art.

*July 2003 -
A Million Dollars for a Nickel! (FOUND
July 30, 2003!)  Word reached us of a significant reward  ($1,000,000) to find a missing 1913 Liberty Head nickel.  This five cent piece is only one of five known specimens.  For details about this reward see Bowers and Merena Galleries.

Other that that, a few interesting art crimes over the past few weeks.  A raid on the Rothschild collection
in the UK, a small Rodin stolen in Argentina, but nothing too big.  There was the theft and recovery of a J C Dahl painting in Norway; but again that case is closed. 

* June 2003 - see 2003 UPDATES (Part I) archived below.

Jonathan Sazonoff

Archive: 2003 UPDATES (Part I) January - June 2003
Archive: 2002 UPDATES
Archive: 2001 UPDATES
Archive: 2000 UPDATES
Archive: 1999 UPDATES