Stealing Art: How Thieves Do It, and How They (Sometimes) Get Caught


Robert Wittman built a twenty-year law-enforcement career that was nothing short of extraordinary. Armed with a scholar’s passion, a con man’s smile, and a daredevil’s nerves, he worked undercover to catch art thieves, forgers, and black-market traders around the world. By the FBI’s accounting, Wittman saved more than $300 million worth of cultural property such as art and antiquities.


Stealing Art: Recent & Famous Art Thefts

Just a few weeks ago, on March 12, 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic was unfolding, one of the most remarkable art heists in history took place. The Singer Laren art museum near Amsterdam had just closed its doors due to the Coronavirus threat. Under the cover of darkness, thieves broke the glass doors of the museum and absconded with an 1884 oil painting by Vincent van Gogh called The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring. Similar works by van Gogh have fetched tens of millions of dollars at auction. With the coronavirus effectively freezing travel and disrupting shipping routes, smuggling the painting over international borders could prove incredibly difficult. Many feel “the thieves might not be too far from the site of the crime”.
This class, taught by world renowned expert (and FBI agent) Robert Wittman, will examine the historical aspects of art theft and other art crimes, including; frauds, forgeries and fakes. He’ll offer an overview of the worldwide problem and the amount of annual loss. He will then detail the Van Gogh heist, including, how the painting could be recovered.


Learn More About Art Theft & Other Great Topics

Learn more about art thefts and other topics by checking out other great videos at OneDayU, including ‘Intelligent Life In The Universe, ‘The Irish In The American Revolution& ‘The Life Of Teddy Roosevelt’ all on-demand now.



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James Daleo

Art Crimes Examined and Exposed

This was a really interesting examination of Art Crime that provided insight into the damage art criminals do and the importance of recovering stolen works. The speaker, Robert Wittman, has a long successful career and shares some really interesting insights and had lots more to tell.

8 months ago
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