The Moment - Feb 22, 2020

Suspects Claim FBI Art Crimes Chief 'Ordered' Museum Theft

  • November 27, 2011 19:57

  • Email
Sisley's Lane of Poplars at Moret.

Seven people on trial for stealing works by Monet, Sisley and Brueghel from a French museum say that the crime was instigated by Robert K. Wittman, the FBI's well-known art detective.

The 2007 heist from Nice's Musée des Beaux Arts yielded the gun-toting thieves four paintings -- Breughels' Allegory of Water and Allegory of Earth along with Alfred Sisley's Avenue of Poplars at Moret and Claude Monet's Cliffs Near Dieppe. Estimated at 22 million euros, the works would fetch only a fraction of that amount on the black market.

Facing 30 years in prison for armed robbery, the men said they acted on a comment from Wittman who was trying to flush out the perpetrators of the unsolved 1990 Gardner Museum heist. Missing from the Boston museum are works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas, worth about $500 million.

Wittman was working undercover when he met with a Miami-based contact, "Sunny" Ternus, who claimed he knew of the whereabouts of the stolen Gardner paintings.

The suspects' lawyer said that his clients were amateurs who were motivated to do the crime in order to fulfill Wittman's supposed wish for "Dutch paintings" as told to Ternus during a Miami yacht party staged by the FBI.

"These canvasses disappeared in order to recover two key paintings belonging to US heritage. I'm not sure that the US would appreciate it if French agents acted likewise," said the gang's lawyer. He accuses Wittman of "police provocation" and wants the charges dropped.

 

Read more at Telegraph


  • Email

More News Feed Headlines

A large-scale work by Tim Burton, from a previous show.

Tim Burton Stages Site-Specific Exhibition at Neon Museum in Las Vegas

  • View images from Las Vegas Review-journal / October 15th, 2019

For the first time in nearly a decade, renowned American film director, producer, artist, writer and animator Tim ...

Read More...
Shown in the 2014 exhibition "Degas/Cassatt" at the National Gallery of Art, Mary Cassatt, The Loge, c.  1878–1880, oil on canvas.

On Stage, 'The Independents' Probes the Colorful Relationship of Artists Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas

  • ArtfixDaily / October 15th, 2019

A visit to the National Gallery of Art in DC five years ago sparked the imagination of playwright Christopher Ward. ...

Read More...
In the second half of 2019, Sotheby’s fall sales series in Hong Kong, with 3,423 lots sold across 20 auctions conducted over five days, brought a total of HK$3.35 billion / US$426 million – the sixth consecutive Hong Kong series to exceed US$400 million (Estimate: HK$2.5 – 3.57 billion / US$318 – 456 million).

Global Art Market Slows in First Half of 2019

  • Barron's / October 14th, 2019

The global art market slowed due to political and economic uncertainty in the first half of 2019, according to ...

Read More...
Masters of engineering student Karly Bast of MIT shows off the scale model of a bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci that she and her co-workers used to prove the design’s feasibility.  Credit: Gretchen Ertl

MIT Engineers Prove Leonardo da Vinci Was a Master...at Bridge Design

  • ArtfixDaily / October 10th, 2019

Some 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci is still well-known as a Renaissance master artist and prolific ...

Read More...

Related Press Releases

ARTFIXdaily Artwire