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The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theftby Ulrich Boser
Synopses & Reviews
In recent years, several of Americas leading art museums have voluntarily given up their finest pieces of classical art to the governments of Italy and Greece. The monetary value is estimated at over half a billion dollars. Why would they be moved to such unheard-of generosity?
The answer lies at the Getty, one of the worlds richest and most troubled museums, and scandalous revelations that it had been buying looted antiquities for decades. Drawing on a trove of confidential museum records and frank interviews, Felch and Frammolino give us a fly-on-the-wall account of the inner workings of a world-class museum and tell the story of the Gettys dealings in the illegal antiquities trade. The outlandish characters and bad behavior could come straight from the pages of a thrillerthe wealthy recluse founder, the cagey Italian art investigator, the playboy curator, the narcissist CEObut their chilling effects on the rest of the art world have been all too real, as the authors show in novelistic detail.
Fast-paced and compelling, Chasing Aphrodite exposes the layer of dirt beneath the polished façade of the museum business.
April 1865. Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox, Lincoln is assassinated, and Shermans army marches into Raleigh. Sometime amid that tumultuous stretch of days, an unknown infantryman rifles through the North Carolina statehouse hunting for Confederate mementosbut what he finds is no ordinary souvenir. He returns home with a touchstone of our Republic: one of the fourteen original copies of the Bill of Rights.Lost Rightsfollows that documents epic passage over the course of 138 years, from the Indiana businessman who purchases the looted parchment for five dollars to the antique-furniture dealer who tries to peddle it more than a century later for $5 million. The parchment drifts from the living room wall of a midwestern family into the corruptible world of high-end antiquities before its journey ends with a dramatic FBI sting on the thirty-second floor of a Philadelphia office tower. For fans ofThe Billionaires VinegarandThe Lost Painting,Lost Rightsis “a tour de force of antiquarian sleuthing” (Hampton Sides).
Near the close of the Civil War, as General Sherman blazed his path to the sea, an unknown infantryman rifled through the North Carolina state house.The soldier was hunting for simple Confederate mementosmaps, flags, official correspondencebut he wound up discovering something far more valuable. He headed home to Ohio with one of the touchstones of our republic: one of the fourteen original copies of the Bill of Rights.
Lost Rights follows that documents singular passage over the course of 138 years, beginning with the Indiana businessman who purchased the looted parchment for five dollars, then wending its way through the exclusive and shadowy world of high-end antiquitiesa world populated by obsessive archivists, oddball collectors, forgers, and thieves and ending dramatically with the FBI sting that brought the parchment back into the hands of the government.
For fans of The Billionaires Vinegar and The Lost Painting, Lost Rights is “a tour de force of antiquarian sleuthing” (Hampton Sides).
About the Author
Ulrich Boser has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Smithsonian magazine, Slate, and many other publications. He has served as a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report and is the founding editor of The Open Case, a crime magazine and web community. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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Arts and Entertainment » Architecture » Architects