Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

Anthony M. Amore Tom Mashberg / Jan 26, 2020

Stealing Rembrandts The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists A spellbinding journey into the high stakes world of art theftToday art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world exceeding billion in losses to galleries and art colle

  • Title: Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
  • Author: Anthony M. Amore Tom Mashberg
  • ISBN: 9780230108530
  • Page: 469
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A spellbinding journey into the high stakes world of art theftToday, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding 6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted.In Stealing Rembrandts, art security expert Anthony M A and award winA spellbinding journey into the high stakes world of art theftToday, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding 6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted.In Stealing Rembrandts, art security expert Anthony M A and award winning investigative reporter Tom Mashberg reveal the actors behind the major Rembrandt heists in the last century Through thefts around the world from Stockholm to Boston, Worcester to Ohio the authors track daring entries and escapes from the world s most renowned museums There are robbers who coolly walk off with multimillion dollar paintings self styled art experts who fall in love with the Dutch master and desire to own his art at all costs and international criminal masterminds who don t hesitate to resort to violence They also show how museums are thwarted in their ability to pursue the thieves even going so far as to conduct investigations on their own, far away from the maddening crowd of police intervention, sparing no expense to save the priceless masterpieces.Stealing Rembrandts is an exhilarating, one of a kind look at the black market of art theft, and how it compromises some of the greatest treasures the world has ever known.

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    About "Anthony M. Amore Tom Mashberg"

      • Anthony M. Amore Tom Mashberg

        Anthony M A is a columnist with the Boston Herald and the head of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 2005, where he is charged with efforts to recover 13 works of art stolen on March 18, 1990 He regularly blogs for The Huffington Post, drawing on his 15 years of national security, law, intelligence and crisis management experience with two federal government agencies, including his part in stopping the so called Shoe Bomber in 2001 A is also a trustee of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art and a lecturer in the study of art crime He has appeared on NPR, FOX News, and many His latest book STEALING REMBRANDTS co written with Tom Mashberg is a media hit The book has been reviewed in The Seattle Times, Boston Globe, Vanity Fair, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and ARTNews, just to name a few.


    1. In 2005, Anthony Amore took on the second least desirable job in the museum world: security director at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (Least desirable: being security director in 1990 when thieves stole 13 artworks from the museum, at $350 million the single largest heist in American history.) As part of his effort to try to recover the stolen paintings, he began to study a very narrow niche of the art-crime world -- thefts of Rembrandts. Stealing Rembrandts is the result of his home [...]

    2. This is such a rich subject that it was disappointing how flat and dull this book was. Yes, yes, I know it was written by a security expert and not a New Yorker writer but There is very little compelling history of the artwork itself and the description of the many thefts (Rembrandt works are apparently stolen more than any other works of art, because there are so many of them and because they have such a high value) is laid out in a kind of scattershot way that makes it hard to follow and almo [...]

    3. Disclaimer: This is NOT a real review because I never finished the book. I LOVE heists, so I thought this would be a good book to read. But I realized my error upon reading the first few chapters.The author is intent on destroying the myths around heists but that's the part I love about heists! Their mythical power! He's like "your concept of a heist is probably tainted by hollywood, let me show you how unglamorous and anticlimactic it really is." The author has all the entirely wrong attitudes [...]

    4. Stealing Rembrandts was a fun book that kept me interested, but had some pretty massive holes that I didn't expect. First, it's basically one big warning to would-be thieves that crime doesn't pay. Amore is obsessed with pointing out that most people who steal artwork don't have any idea what to do with it, and so they end up just holding onto or destroying any art that they're not caught with. If they're caught, they do to jail. I know Rembrandts weren't the target, and this book is alllll abou [...]

    5. "A spellbinding journey into the high-stakes world of art theft"Today, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted."A truly thrilling and extremely facinating foray into a much under-appreciated issue- the theft of priceless paintings. Mr. Amore- who certainly knows from what he writes about- has managed to mak [...]

    6. Co-authored by the director of security at the Isabella Stewart Museum (scene of a still-unsolved, infamous art theft in 1990) in Boston and an investigative reporter, this book focuses mostly on Rembrandt thefts around the world which HAVE been solved. However, it stresses the number of unsolved thefts. It is really a plea to thieves that stealing famous Rembrandts rarely results in big bucks and often badly damages priceless paintings, etchings etc. due to mishandling and poor/humid storage co [...]

    7. In 1997, a gang of criminals escorted Boston Herald Sunday Editor Tom Mashberg to an undisclosed warehouse and showed him an old master oil painting.Inspecting the painting by flashlight, Mashberg believed it to be Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, famously stolen, along with several other priceless pictures, from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Since Mashberg’s possible sighting, the missing Gardner artworks have gone back underground, and the crime [...]

    8. An entertaining book about the daring and bumbling theft of Rembrandt's works of art from around the world. This book highlights both the vulnerability of great master works, as well as the impossibility of selling such works on the black market. Additionally, the motivation of the criminals, from money, to dissatisfaction with government are quite eye opening. Although the book was cowritten by the current chief of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, home of one of the mo [...]

    9. I don't know why I have been obsessed with reading about art thefts. Don't get the wrong idea-- I am not planning a major heist! However, I do find it intriguing, a bit like my fascination with being stranded alone on an island.This book focuses on Rembrandt paintings and etchings that have been stolen over the years. Sprinkled in it are tales from the life of Rembrandt himself, which were some of my favorite portions of the book. Even so, there are some interesting tales of criminals and how th [...]

    10. After attending an entertaining talk given by the author on the subject matter in the book, my wife and I purchased a copy from Mr. Amore. Having visited the Gardener Museum many times over the years and being a life long admirer of Rembrandt's paintings, this well researched book that chronicles the surprising number of thefts of the master's works, is a great read for any lover of Rembrandt, fine art, and un solved mysteries.

    11. This book is such a disappointment. It should have been a can't-put-down sort of book: it has true crime, exotic locales, master criminals -- and I was bored to tears. I can't quite pin down why. Somehow, the writing was tedious. Read for the information. Don't read it to be enthralled.

    12. thanks for the free book. Entertaining read! The book dismantles the notion of the debonair art thief and the high tech caper (sorry whitecollar fans!).

    13. Read this in one sitting on a plane - interesting, not too deep or long overview of a number of historical art heists where a work by Rembrandt was the target, with a focus especially on the mechanics of the heist & how (lax) museum security played into it. Doesn't give too much art historical background besides cursory sort of overviews which it may have benefitted further from, and some parts felt a little under developed (ie: the Isabella Stewart Gardener robbery is mentioned many times t [...]

    14. Great read. I loved the mix of history, biography, art education and the story around the theft & recovery. I know almost nothing about art, but that didn’t matter, it was explained in layman’s terms & no snobby attitude. Very interesting & enjoyable book.

    15. While I wish this book were better organized -- even with chapters arranged by incident, it manages to jump around -- it was fascinating and just the right length. Art theft seems so mysterious, but the authors have convinced me that there's nothing special about it.

    16. The authors caution us that art thefts are not the meticulously planned affairs as depicted in the movies. The typical art thief is a petty low-life more familiar with crowbars and drills than locks and building schematics. Thus, at least one type of reader who might be attracted to this type of book will leave disappointed, despite the alluring title.Their point is that even the most ignorant thief will probably have heard of Rembrandt, and surmise that such works are valuable. This is as far a [...]

    17. I like Rembrandt’s art, but I don’t love it like I do other artists’ work (museums of the world, your Rembrandts are safe from me) but I still thought this would be an interesting book to read.I didn’t know a lot about Rembrandt’s life or artwork, and while this wasn’t a complete history, I did learn more about the artist and his work, the types of pieces he created, how many pieces he created and their value.I wish the authors would have included a brief bio of Rembrandt at the begi [...]

    18. "The first version of the story you hear is always wrong." Although movies makes stealing art look upper crust, Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg prove time and again that art thievery is generally low class crooks looking to make a buck. They aren't interested in the art, it's just that art museums, unlike a bank, are not secure and therefore make stealing a Rembrandt much easier than stealing a million dollars.That makes it a double crime because the thieves have so little understanding of the [...]

    19. I have been a fan of art and art history since taking an art history class in high school. I have enjoyed reading novels based on the life of artists or works that they created, however this is the first book I have read about art heists. Art theft is extremely common, much more so that I had thought – apparently enough art is stolen to warrant an FBI art crime team! Stealing Rembrandts looks at some of the major art heists that have involved at least one work by Rembrandt as one of the victim [...]

    20. Despite some awful editing (I feel like the editor just put the final draft through MS Word, and didn't actually read it!), the book was really enjoyable. I learned A LOT about Rembrandt and his life, which was unexpected, but not very much about the ISG heist, which was unexpected. However, I understand now why the authors chose not to devote much book to the Gardner Museum fiasco, since there really isn't much of a story to tell until (someday!) those lost items are recovered. Otherwise, thoug [...]

    21. The best thing about Stealing Rembrandts was that I learned quite a bit about Rembrandt and developed an appreciation for his work. I read this book with a phone or computer next to me - which is extremely unusual for me - because I looked up almost every painting that was mentioned.The authors are well-qualified did their research well. Anthony Amore worked as Security Director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (well after the famous 1990 theft), and Tom Mashberg is a Boston reporter who [...]

    22. Art and Crime and IntrigueAnthony M Amore and Tom Mashberg have compiled a history of art theft that is as entertaining as it is astonishing. Amore is the security director for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston - the location where 13 art works including two Rembrandt paintings and an etching caused an uproar in 1990: Mashberg is the investigative reporter and Sunday editor of the Boston Herald. These two gentlemen have as much intelligent information about the psychology and perpetr [...]

    23. "Stealing Rembrandts" is an informative book, as one would expect from a tome co-written by a journalist and a museum security expert. While it is a fascinating look into the inner workings of art crime (and into the tragedy of Old Master thefts), it does become a bit repetitive. The most engaging portion of the book is the chapter that debunks the myth of a greedy "Dr. No" character trying to hoard these priceless works for him or herself. After that, it is quite a formulaic rendering of Rembra [...]

    24. I got an advance reader's copy of this at work. While it was an illuminating look at a side of the art world that I was previously unfamiliar with, there were almost TOO many instances of theft examined in the book. Everything got a bit repetitive and started running together. And while the book claimed to be primarily a response to the 1990 Isabella Gardner Museum robbery, which remains unsolved, very little of the book dealt with that specific case. I did enjoy reading about the two thieves th [...]

    25. Stealing works of art has been happening since man started expressing himself in forms of art. Surprisingly enough, to me personally, is the fact that Rembrandt’s works are among the most often stolen. This book details some of the most famous of those thefts and notorious art thieves in the past century.Mr. Amore is a security expert and currently head of security at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. Mr. Mashberg is a veteran investigative reporter. Drawing on their vast experience they [...]

    26. While I have a passing interest in art history, this book more than fulfilled it, providing well researched background information on the pieces covered in this book. I would say that aspect is a little too well done. Sometimes the background information would drag on bog down the stories of the heists. As a consequence, it did take me a lot longer than I had wished to finish this book.I do like that there are pictures of the paintings as well as other relevant objects included in the book, beca [...]

    27. I thought this book would be interesting to check out; I don't know much about Rembrandt, or art theft. This book is a historical reflection on the artist, and why he excelled during the Dutch golden age, his life, what made his work so important, and in turn, so valuable. There are around 2,000 works by Rembrandt, but interestingly a huge amount have been stolen and some are still missing. The book tracks the major heists and examines the motives of art theft. Why do criminals take million doll [...]

    28. Although the topic of this book was fascinating, I was a bit bored reading it, as the authors briefly told about case after case of art heists in which Rembrandt art works came up stolen and missing. By the end of the book, my attention waned. However, when the authors presented information from interviews with Florian "Al" Monday, I was mesmerized by the profile of a highly intelligent man who chose to use his intellect to steal invaluable art objects. It seemed to be a tragedy that in the end, [...]

    29. I was intrigued by this book and its topic, about which I know little. Each chapter covers a different heist of a Rembrandt piece. Overall, it was interesting and I learned a lot about how museums and art insurers operate. It's shocking how little security and insurance is out on these fine pieces--much less than I would have imagined. It's also pretty surprising that most of these art thefts were crudely performed by petty criminals, not sophisticated Mission Impossible or Thomas Crown-esque th [...]

    30. Very interesting subject matter, but the writing style and organization were a little awkward. In particular, the authors had a tendency to write in a way which circled around to the main story, including several tangents. It's not that the tangents weren't interesting, but it felt like they were trying to cram in more information than there was room for, and the book could have benefited from a bit of streamlining. I also got the impression that the book was designed to be readable chapter by c [...]

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