In the wake of a heist in Zurich last Sunday, there's a great article in the Wall Street Journal today about the motivations of art thieves:
So why don't thieves stick to jewelry heists or bank robberies? The most popular explanation is that they are commissioned by shadowy underworld figures to obtain art for their private delectation. In the movie "Dr. No," James Bond, an unwilling guest in the eponymous doctor's lair, does a double take as he passes a painting on his way into dinner with his host. Audiences don't laugh now, but they did when the film was first released: The painting in question, Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington, had been stolen from London's National Gallery the year before the movie was made. (It was recovered in 1965.)That's good trivia! In actuality, the "Dr. Evil with a Van Gogh" is a popular myth.
I'm sure I blogged about this before, but a contemporary of Norman Rockwell was so afraid his wife would take away a gifted Rockwell original in a divorce settlement, he made a copy and hid the original in his house. It was only discovered last year, leading to this strangest of all press releases from the Norman Rockwell Museum: "Through an improbable convergence of circumstances, an iconic Norman Rockwell painting, not known to have been missing, has been found."