Art is Not Gold, Stolen Pieces are Hard to Sell

Most artistic works, like paintings, are hard to steal and sell. First, most of them bear the artists’ names engraved in the art. Secondly, most famous art and paintings are always priceless and cannot fetch actual prices for the thieves who prefer selling them on the black market since most of these art pieces are well known and, therefore, their resale values are low. They can be identified through their distinct style, signature, or markings, making selling them on the open market challenging without attracting attention.

When a piece goes missing, the public is informed; as such, it takes much mastery to sell, a virtue most thieves do not possess. This also explains why the police have, in the recent past, been busting art thieves of famous paintings and sculptures. For instance, Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings “Congregation Leaving the reformed church in Nuenen” and the second titled “Beach at Scheveningen during a Storn,” which were stolen in Italy, were recovered in 2016.

The Mona Lisa, one of the most renowned art pieces in history, was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris on August 21, 1911. The theft created a scandal and sparked a two-year international search for the missing painting. With a mystery tale full of flips and turns that continue to enthrall art enthusiasts today, this incident has become one of history’s most famous art heists.

Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian immigrant who had helped with setting up the painting, was later identified as the person behind the theft. The painting was taken down from the wall and transported to a neighboring apartment by Peruggia, who had spent the previous night hiding in the museum and waiting until it was shut down. In order to sell the picture back to Italy, he kept it hidden there for two years waiting for the chaos to cease.

Nevertheless, Peruggia erred in 1913. He made touch with a Florence-based art dealer and made the painting available for purchase. Suspicious, the dealer called the police, who ultimately apprehended Peruggia and took the painting. The Mona Lisa was brought back to the Louvre Museum, which is still among the most well-liked sights there.

Stealing art and portraits is considered a severe crime and is punishable by law. In addition to being ethically wrong, stealing art can be challenging to get away with, as the assignment has alluded to. The art world is a tight-knit community, and stolen artwork is often reported to the authorities and circulated among art dealers and collectors. This can make it challenging for thieves to sell stolen artwork without getting caught.

(Visited 111 times, 1 visits today)

15 thoughts on “Art is Not Gold, Stolen Pieces are Hard to Sell

  1. I loved this quick read especially with the fun little history lesson included! I do think that stealing an already well-known and established work of art for the purpose of resale might not be the play, just because of how easy it is to trace the previous owner. This discussion vaguely reminds me of how NFTs nowadays are unique in that they can be easily traced back to the original owner; attempting to ‘steal’ one and claiming it as your own, then trying to resell it in an environment outside the established sites all while anybody can simply look at the unique code to see who it actually belongs to. Then you’d get instantly outed and shunned from the community, or in this real life historical instance, have a run in with the law. Rather, I think it would be a wiser strategy to forge paintings in the style of famous artists, because at least you could claim that you found it somewhere instead of having its exact origins and previous owners widely known and documented.

  2. From a college student’s perspective, the passage sheds light on the intricacies and challenges involved in stealing and selling famous artworks. It highlights the significant hurdles faced by art thieves, including the engraving of artists’ names, the distinct styles and markings of artworks, and the close-knit nature of the art community. As college students, we recognize the ethical and legal implications of art theft and understand the importance of preserving and protecting cultural treasures. The examples provided, such as the recovery of stolen Van Gogh paintings and the notorious theft of the Mona Lisa, add intrigue to the discussion and serve as cautionary tales. The passage serves as a reminder of the vigilance of authorities and the collective efforts to safeguard valuable artworks, ultimately discouraging illegal activities within the art world

  3. From a college student’s perspective, the passage sheds light on the intricacies and challenges involved in stealing and selling famous artworks. It highlights the significant hurdles faced by art thieves, including the engraving of artists’ names, the distinct styles and markings of artworks, and the close-knit nature of the art community. As college students, we recognize the ethical and legal implications of art theft and understand the importance of preserving and protecting cultural treasures. The examples provided, such as the recovery of stolen Van Gogh paintings and the notorious theft of the Mona Lisa, add intrigue to the discussion and serve as cautionary tales. The passage serves as a reminder of the vigilance of authorities and the collective efforts to safeguard valuable artworks, ultimately discouraging illegal activities within the art world.

  4. Reading this was kind of an eye-opener. While walking through museums and art galleries on school field trips I always used to think that security was kind of lax for how expensive all of the guides said this stuff was. Like if you really tried you could touch the dinosaur bones, the statues, and pretty much everything that isn’t behind glass. It never really made sense to me why security was so light until reading this. It made me realize that even if somebody did ever steal anything, who on Earth would they sell it to? I can’t imagine anybody on the black market wanting a wholly mammoth skull or a caveman statue. Not only would it be expensive, but what would they even do with it? The same’s true for art, except art, is even more unique and recognizable than some random bones. Making re-selling it a nightmare

  5. I believe your beliefs to be very valid. Art is mostly bought for either status or interest, but in both cases the buyers must have an appreciation, an understanding, and historical knowledge about the piece of art before buying it. Thus, unlike gold which is widely circulated and not distinct or very unique in nature, the art pieces are one of a kind – especially famous ones, such as Mona Lisa. Thus, if it ever goes missing most buyers will know that the seller is a thief.

  6. As someone who appreciates art, I understand the complexities involved in stealing and selling artistic works. The unique characteristics of art pieces, such as engravings of artists’ names and the priceless nature of famous works, make them challenging to sell on the black market. Stolen art is easily identifiable through distinct styles, signatures, or markings, which attract attention from authorities and vigilant art enthusiasts. The prompt public notifications when art goes missing further hinder thieves’ ability to sell stolen pieces. Having witnessed the tight security measures and collective efforts within the art community, like the successful recovery of Vincent Van Gogh’s stolen paintings, I am aware of the risks involved in stealing and selling artwork. Stealing art is not only ethically wrong but also a serious crime with legal consequences. The close-knit art community circulates information about stolen artwork, making it difficult for thieves to profit from their illicit activities. This understanding emphasizes the importance of preserving and protecting artistic treasures. Not only is this the case, but art in itself is the fruit born from someone’s work, thoughts, and creativity.

  7. Reading this was kind of an eye-opener. While walking through museums and art galleries on school field trips I had always used to think that security was kind of lax for how expensive all of the guides said this stuff was. Like if you really tried you could touch the dinosaur bones, the statues, and pretty much anything that isn’t behind glass. It never really made sense to me, why security was so light until reading this. It made me realize that even if somebody did ever steal anything, who on Earth would they sell it to? I can’t imagine anybody on the black market wanting a wholly mammoth skull or a caveman statue. Not only is it expensive, but what would they even do with it? The same’s true for art, except art, is even more unique and recognizable than some random bones. Making re-selling it an absolute nightmare.

  8. Your article discussing the difficulties of art being sold is interesting, considering the state of the world and its perspective on NFTs right now. This may be due to my lack of understanding of how they work, but couldn’t a screenshot of an NFT be passed on as that NFT and be sold at exorbitant prices? Even if it’s not the authentic version, copies reduce the value and, at the very least, make buying NFTs feel like a joke. How could an item, which is marketed as one of a kind, yet is the same shell of a picture with minor additions be genuinely classified as unique?

  9. While art can be a symbol of status and wealth, reducing it to mere material possession devalues its true essence. Stolen artworks, although coveted for their monetary worth, carry a heavy burden. Their theft taints their history and separates them from the rich cultural context they once belonged to. The illicit art market is a treacherous realm, as stolen pieces attract suspicion and law enforcement attention. The true value of art lies in its ability to provoke emotions, ignite imagination, and challenge societal norms. It is the intangible connection between artist and audience, the story behind the brushstrokes, and the symbolism conveyed that truly make art priceless.

  10. I agree with the author that stolen art isn’t profitable and won’t make you any cash. Because the art is broadcasted around the globe on the news to find it, it won’t be hard to find if it is a unique piece. So if it gets sold someone will find it and can track who stole it. It will lose value if a piece breaks or there is damage to the piece as well. People cannot get away with stealing art anymore with all the security cameras and technology that protects the piece, so people shouldn’t even try to steal it anymore.

  11. This is something I have never actually thought about though it makes a lot of sense. Any art that is extremely valuable is also most likely extremely well-known. There are so many scientific ways to find out if it is authentic and it is most likely impossible to resell something stolen without being caught. I can also imagine that stolen art can be extremely bad for delicate pieces. If you steal a piece like mona lisa it s extremely old and must be handled with extreme care. I would be furious if a stole piece o history was damaged. It is extremely upsetting that people steal art and that they think they can get away with it without any repercussions.

  12. The title puts it nicely: stolen art can’t be readily sold and turned into cash. Because of the nature of art, it is much more difficult to profit off of it in illegitimate ways than for other objects and goods. This is because owning an art piece is a status symbol and is almost never bought simply to enjoy the art or support the artist. Wealthy people love to own fine art and brag about it, and it can even bring a sense of community to own expensive things and to talk to others about it. With art, pieces are so individualized that they are seen as the ultimate sign of wealth and the most expensive rarities to be owned. I believe a more prominent form of art theft is the selling of an art piece and then claiming that it is a previously unknown work by a famous artist. I imagine that this problem is more prevalent, especially for more idiosyncratic artists like Jackson Pollock (whose style is easily replicable).

  13. I agree with the article of how stealing a high rated piece of art is hard to sell, especially something like the Mona Lisa. I feel that if an individual wants to steal a piece of art, it should be for the purpose of keeping it instead of selling it because there is no one on the black market that would want it because of how much attention is put onto it from trying to find it. I feel as if even if they art was given for free, no one would still take it because of the trouble it could bring from government officials.

  14. I think this is a really interesting concept — the fact that stolen art is not worth the same as art that is sold at auction, etc. I like the title of your piece “Art is not Gold.” I also wonder how much of it has to do with the inability to boast the art piece. I think there is a culture in the art community where people boast and brag (both online and in real life) about owning famous paintings/sculptures. If that famous piece happens to be stolen, you cannot boast about it without potentially incriminating yourself. Owning expensive art is a status thing, owning stolen art is not so much.

    1. I believe your beliefs to be very valid. Art is mostly bought for either status or interest, but in both cases the buyers must have an appreciation, an understanding, and historical knowledge about the piece of art before buying it. Thus, unlike gold which is widely circulated and not distinct or very unique in nature, the art pieces are one of a kind – especially famous ones, such as Mona Lisa. Thus, if it ever goes missing most buyers will know that the seller is a thief.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *