“Nairne’s account of his search for two stolen Turner paintings is an incredible tale of fraud and dodgy underworld characters. . . Riveting.”
Published by Reaktion Books & distributed by the University of Chicago Press
Publication date: September 15, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-86189-851-7 224 pages; 18 halftones Cloth ▪ $29.00
In 1994 two important paintings by J.M.W. Turner—then valued at twenty-four million pounds—were stolen from a German public gallery while on loan from Tate Britain. In this vivid, personal account, Sandy Nairne, who at the time was the Director of Programmes for the Tate and became centrally involved in the pursuit of the paintings and the negotiations for their return, retells this complex, 8-year, cloak-and-dagger story, which finally concluded in 2002 with the pictures returning to public display at the museum.
In addition to this thrilling narrative, Nairne unravels stories of other high-value art thefts, puzzling what motivates a thief to steal a well-known work of art that cannot be sold, even on the black market. Nairne also examines the role of art theft within the larger underworld of international looting and illicit deals among art and antique collectors. The art heist, of course, is a popular theme of crime novels and films, and Nairne considers these depictions as well, investigating the imaginative construction of the art thief, the specialist detective, and the mysterious collector.
Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners
is a compelling, real-life detective story that will keep both art and mystery lovers eagerly turning pages.
is director of the National Portrait Gallery, London. He is available for interviews. Please contact Laura Avey for more information: email@example.com