Thursday, March 29, 2012

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Received a Gift of Old Masters from Michal and Renata Hornstein

On March 20th, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts issued a press release announcing the gift by Michal and Renata Hornstein of "close to" 80 works of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings valued at $75 million.

The existing collection includes works by artists such as Veronese, El Greco, Rembrandt, De Heem, Snyders, Poussin, Claude, Tiepolo, Boucher, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Chassériau, Bouguereau, Daumier, Corot, Pissaro, Monet, Sisley, Rodin, Renoir, Matisse, Van Dongen, Giacometti, Dix, Rouault, and Picasso.

This reminds me of the great generosity of museum benefactors in the first half of the 20th century.

A new pavilion will be built to display the collection.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Was the 1972 theft of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts the second use of guns in a robbery of an art museum?

Now here's something interesting: Anthony Amore, security director of The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and author of Stealing Rembrandts, pointed out that the first use of guns in a robbery of an art museum was committed in May 1972 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Was the second use of guns in September 1972 in Montreal, Quebec in the robbery of the Museum of Fine Arts?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Speculating on the whereabouts of the 17 paintings stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Early in March, the Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale (TPC), Italy's 300-member art crime military police unit, found 37 paintings that had been stolen more than four decades ago from a residence in the Parioli district at the home of a neighbor.

A 50-year-old widow had put four paintings up for sale (the auction had has not been publicly identified) and the images of the artworks had been published in a sales catalogue.  In a routine check of objects for public sale against an in-house stolen art database of 3 million objects, the Carabinieri discovered that four of the paintings (I don't know which ones) that had been put up for sale had been reported stolen in 1971. The current owner of the paintings, which upon further investigation was found to have 37 of 41 stolen paintings from the 1971 burglary, is reported to have said that she and her husband purchased the paintings in a private sale more than two decades ago and that she was selling them to raise money after her husband's death.

Could the paintings stolen from Montreal's Museum of Fine Art still be in Montreal, located within walking distance of the museum, maybe in one of the lovely residences adjacent to Rue Sherbrooke east toward Westmount or west toward McGill University?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Earlier this month, The Guardian Reported "Stolen Paintings Recovered in Rome 40 years after art heist"

Carabinieri TPC's Press conference in March to announce
 the finding of 37 paintings stolen from a neighbor's house
 in the Parioli district of Rome more than 41 years ago. 
Tom Kington in Rome reports for The Guardian, "Stolen Paintings Recovered in Rome 40 years after art heist."

In his article, subtitled "Italian police find stolen paintings hanging in a house in the same district of Rome from where 42 works disappeared", Kington writes:
"It was one of the most audacious art thefts seen in Rome: one night in 1971 a gang of thieves slipped into the plush residence of a construction magnate in the upmarket Parioli neighbourhood and walked out with 42 rare paintings, including works by Van Dyck and Poussin."
Here's Frommers note on the Parioli district:
Parioli, Rome's most elegant residential section, Parioli, is framed by the green spaces of the Villa Borghese to the south and the Villa Glori and Villa Ada to the north.  It's a setting for some of the city's finest restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs.  It's not exactly central, however, and it can be a hassle if you're dependent on public transportation.  Parioli lies adjacent to Prati but across the Tiber to the east; like Prati, this is one of the safer districts.  We'd call Parioli an area for connoisseurs, attracting those who shun the overrun Spanish Steps and the overly commercialized Via Veneto, and those who'd never admit to have been in the Termini area. [Frommers]
The 17th century Villa Borghese of course houses many beautiful paintings from the 15th to the 18th century (including works by Caravaggio, Lucas Cranach, Anton Van Dyck, Pieter Paul Rubens, and Titian) and lovely sculpture by artists such as Bernini. On my first trip to the Galleries Borghese we actually had seen so many lovely artworks on the ground floor that we had to force ourselves to the upper floor (and not all of our group had the stamina) only to find exquisite paintings by Raphael.

More information about the theft, the images of the paintings, and a list of the paintings can be found on ARCA's blog here, here, and here.