|Portrait of Catherine Sezgin by Denise Monaghan|
Catherine Schofield Sezgin graduated “With Distinction” from the ARCA Masters Program in International Art Crime Studies in Amelia, Italy, in 2009. She has an undergraduate degree in Finance from San Diego State University where she was a reporter and a news editor for the daily newspaper. She is a Canadian citizen. Her mother is from the neighborhood of Notre-Dame-des-Grace (NDG) in Montreal, Quebec, and it is this affiliation that helped her to establish contacts for this story. Bill Bantey, retired journalist and the first person called by the security guard after the museum theft, died in October 2010. Mr. Bantey provided insight on the museum, the crime scene in Montreal, and the coverage of the theft that this outsider could not have obtained without him. This story is dedicated to his memory and to his wife, Judy, who passed away in February 2011. I am also grateful to retired art detective Alain Lacoursière for his generosity of time and continued support. A special nod of appreciation is also extended to my advisor, Anthony Amore, Security Director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Theft, who may hopefully one day solve both the largest museum thefts in the United States and Canada.
This blog examines Canada’s largest art theft, the 1972 unsolved theft of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, comparing published information to interviews with two principals involved with the museum and the investigation. It explores the ideas proposed in the last four decades as to who may have committed the theft and the alleged whereabouts of 17 missing paintings, including paintings by Rembrandt, Corot, Rubens, and Courbet and 39 pieces of jewelry and silver. The eight-part article describes the history of museum thefts in Canada, how the crime was committed, and some characteristics that may have made this museum and these paintings a target for crime.