The Momentary - Bentonville, Arkansas - 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

Sotheby’s set a new world auction record for any work of Impressionist art when Claude Monet’s iconic ‘Meules’ sold for $110.7 million in New York on May 14, 2019.

Top Execs to Exit Sotheby's in Latest Shake-Up

  • Page Six / December 4th, 2019

Several top executives at Sotheby's will be leaving, some voluntarily and some not, according to party buzz at the ...

Read More...
Rose and Thistle, furnishing fabric, William Morris, 1881, England.  Museum no.  T.634-1919.  © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Pantone Color of the Year 2020 Is a Classic Blue Familiar in Art and Antiques

  • ArtfixDaily / December 4th, 2019

For 20 years, PANTONE has chosen a color that the company anticipates will be on trend for the year ahead. For 2020, ...

Read More...
A 1913 poster by Cornelia Cassady Davis for women’s suffrage, in "The Art of Protest."

A Well-Timed New Book Examines 'The Art of Protest'

  • ArtfixDaily / December 2nd, 2019

Protest art is in the spotlight, both on streets across the globe and in a new book surveying a 100-year history. ...

Read More...
EDWARD HOPPER, CAPE COD MORNING, 1950.  Oil on canvas, 86.7 x 102.3 cm.  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Sara Roby Foundation © Heirs of Josephine Hopper / 2019, ProLitteris, Zurich Photo: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gene Young

'Step Inside' Edward Hopper Artworks With 2 Kinds of 3-D Experiences in Museum Shows

  • ArtfixDaily / December 1st, 2019

Edward Hopper's seemingly stark and angst-y paintings of 20th-century America are hitting chords with audiences ...

Read More...

ARTFIXdaily Artwire