My love of art heists is getting a workout. Thanks to an email from Lauren (one line, no subject, body: “Did you hear about the Matisse?”) I found out there was a happy ending to an art heist that occurred over 20 years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm: Henri Matisse’s “Le Jardin” has been recovered by an art dealer in the UK! Look how thrilled the man holding it looks. Dude, you should be grinning from ear-to-ear like someone just slipped you an Ecstasy tablet. Back in 1987, an unknown thief/art-enthusiast broke into the museum with a sledgehammer (Thor-complex) and took off with the 1920 oil painting. It resurfaced recently when it was brought it to be appraised by Charles Fine Art Gallery in England, and was checked against the Art Loss Register (how badly do you want to browse through that bad boy?).
Can you just imagine where the painting has been in the last 25 years? How many hands it’s changed, how many cities it’s been to? How does a painting stolen from a museum in Sweden end up at a dealer in England without someone along the way wondering where it came from? You have to assume the person who brought it in wasn’t aware of it’s shady history, or why would they risk getting in trouble? So at some point, it had to have been sold to someone else. No one is going to be arrested, according to what I’ve read; the time for prosecution has passed and everyone is just happy the painting is back. I am completely fascinated by these types of things, as I’ve mentioned before. Now all I want to do is go home and watch The Thomas Crown Affair.