FBI Top Ten Art Crimes: #9

#9: Van Mieris’ A Cavalier

Van_Mieris_A_CavalierA Cavalier by Van Mieris’


A decade has past since this 11 x 16 self portrait of the Dutch Master Frans Van Mieris was stolen from an art gallery in Sidney, Australia. 6,000 people visited the gallery on that fateful day in 2007, but one of them had ill intentions.

The small painting had been screwed to the wall in such a manner that it makes police wonder if it could have been an inside job. That is still undetermined a decade later.

The self portrait was painted on wood between 1657 and 1659 and it is estimated at just over a million dollars.

Tips can be submitted through the FBI’s website HERE.


Counting down the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Art Crimes

#10: Stolen Renoir


Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair by: Renoir
Picture courtesy of wikiart.org


September 8, 2011 a quiet Houston home was invaded by a desperate criminal wielding a semi-automatic weapon. After slipping through an unlocked gate, the perpetrator broke into the home around 10pm. Fearing for the safety of the child asleep upstairs, the homeowner quickly pointed out the Renoir.
“That’s the most expensive thing I own,” she said in a panic. Taking her on her word, the masked gunman tore the framed painting from the wall before making his getaway. The Houston PD was immediately called out, and the case eventually landed on Sergeant Bedingfield’s desk. Even after twenty years of criminal investigations, Bedingfield found himself a little out of his league. A priceless Renoir painting wouldn’t show up at a local pawn shop. He calls in the FBI and Robert Wittman takes the case.
Wittman specialized in art crimes and helped establish the FBI Art Crime Team. Together they have spent nearly six years following every lead.
These cases aren’t like the movies portray. The thief wasn’t a hired thug under the employment of some secret art connoisseur. The Renoir isn’t being shipped through a network of underground criminals, and it most definitely not hanging in the office of some super rich criminal mastermind. More likely, the priceless artwork is hidden in the thief’s garage.
After London created the Art Loss Register, thieves have found it difficult to sell their stolen goods. The more it’s worth, the harder it is to unload. Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair by Renoir was added to London’s list and also comes in at #10 on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Art Crimes.
If you have any information on this crime please contact Wittman:
Robert Wittman, Inc.
PO Box 653
Chester Heights, PA 19017
Tel: 610.361.8929


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FBI TOP 10 ART CRIMES – July 2017

FBI TOP 10 ART CRIMES – July 2017burglary-attorney-los-angeles-1259943_640

10: Renoir Oil Painting – stolen during home invasion in Houston, TX
9: Van Mieris’ A Cavalier – stolen from a gallery in Sidney, Australia
8: Theft from the Museu Chacara Do Céu – 4 works of art stolen from museum in Rio De Janeiro
7: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals – stolen from gallery in West Hollywood, California
6: Cezanne’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise – stolen from Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England
5: Van Gogh Museum Robbery – Vincent Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam **ART RECOVERED**
4: Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius – stolen from the New York City apartment
3: Caravaggio’s Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco – stolen from Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Italy
2: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist – 13 works of art stolen from museum in Boston
1: Iraqi Looted and Stolen Artifacts – stolen from Baghdad Museum

FBI Top 10 Art Crimes

Intro: FBI’s Art Theft Program

After the looting of the Baghdad Museum, the U.S. government knew they needed a team of investigators dedicated to art crime. This included both stolen art and looted art from archeological dig sites. In 2004, The FBI established the ART THEFT PROGRAM specializing in these types of crimes.
The Art Theft Team established an online log of stolen items called the National Stolen Art File or NSAF to publicize the missing pieces in hopes of keeping the items from re-entering the marketplace secretly.
The Art Loss Register was created in the UK, and is the world’s largest database for stolen art. It can be found at http://www.artloss.com/en

It is estimated that art crime is a $4 to $6 Billion yearly industry. These estimates are hard to prove since many art crimes are not reported. The FBI has established its Top 10 Most Wanted list of Art Crimes to showcase the stolen items in hopes of increasing their chances of recovery.

Below is a short video from the FBI’s website explaining the FBI’s ART Team


Continue reading “Intro: FBI’s Art Theft Program”