What Remains: Encountering Images of Stolen Art in Geisel Collections

January 18, 2019

Current Library Exhibit

stolenmonographs_january2019.jpgStories of art heists are the subject of sensational articles, books, and films. They capture the public’s imagination and bring to mind images of masked burglars carefully orchestrating complex and intricate thefts. It is only years after the theft that the true ramifications of these events are felt; stolen pieces of art that remain unfound run the risk of disappearing not only from the walls of museums or private collections but also from the cultural record.

Monographs become one of the few places that retain access to these pieces of art but they are poor substitutes for viewing the real thing.

Using the FBI’s Stolen Art File Database as the source material, this display presents images found in Geisel’s book collection of stolen and still missing artwork. Due to ongoing investigations, not all images are accompanied by details about the theft itself. If that information was made available on the FBI Stolen Art File Database or through newspaper articles, it is presented in the display. The display also contains some examples of recently recovered artwork. Lastly, demonstrating that thefts impact both large and small cultural institutions, details on a theft that occurred at Geisel Library are also presented.

On Thursday January 31st at 3:30 pm, Gwen Verkuilen-Chevalier will discuss the inspiration and selection process for the display and Keith Chevalier will share details of the items that were taken from the Geisel Library. The talk will occur by the foyer display cabinets.

Below is a list of books from the Geisel Library collections that are included in the display:

The Gardner Theft

  • Jack by Louise Hall Tharp
  • The Art of Scandal: The Life and Times of Isabella Stewart Gardner by Douglass Shand-Tucci
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court by Morris Carter
  • Rembrandt: The Painter at Work by Ernst Van de Wetering

Stolen and Still Missing

  • Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft by Simon Houpt
  • Vermeer and the Art of Painting by Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.
  • Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World edited by Noah Charney
  • Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné edited by Jane Livingston and Andrea Liguori
  • Dalí Illustrator by Eduard Fornés
  • Howard Pyle Writer, Illustrator, Founder of the Brandywine School by Henry C. Pitz
  • Jacob Lawrence: American Painter by Ellen Harkins Wheat
  • Renoir by Denis Rouart
  • America and Lewis Hine: Photographs 1904-1940 foreward by Walter Rosenblum; biographical notes by Naomi Rosenblum; essay by Alan Trachtenberg
  • R. v. R., The Life of Rembrandt van Rijn by Hendrik Willem Van Loon
  • Caravaggio: The Art of Realism by John Varriano

Stolen and Recovered

  • Van Gogh’s Van Goghs: Masterpieces from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam by Richard Kendall with contributions by John Leighton and Sjraar van Heugten
  • Van Gogh: A Retrospective edited by Susan Alyson Stein
  • Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth by Jay A. Clarke
  • Edvard Munch by Thomas M. Messer