Archive for the ‘ART THEFT’ Category

Linda Schroeder’s Virtual Book Publicity Tour

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Final Book Cover

 

 

In June and July I will be visiting a lot of Internet sites publicizing my book Artists & Thieves.I’ll post some guest blogs and answer some usual and original interview questions.  Also I’m giving away a Kindle Fire.  Stop by Pump Up Your Book and sign up to win the Kindle and take a look at my guest stops.

Option

Just for fun I thought I’d show you the three other covers that Jackie Meyer designed for Artists & Thieves.  She did four designs and it was very difficult to choose.  The three designs, other than my cover, are the preliminary sketches  so the color, etc. is not in any finished form. And they are too big to fit into the format here for the blog so they are “not all there.” Just imagine that the writing is really all there and my name is at the bottom.

My publisher, Jerry Simmons,  liked the dark haired woman, my mystery writer friends liked the man in the hat, and my detective novel enthusiasts  like the blood spot. But in the end, the one I chose best represented the main character and her link to her ancestor in China.

Option

Option

Book Review: Linda Schroeder’s Artists&Thieves

Monday, July 11th, 2011

WINNER, San Diego Book Awards, 2011

Terry Ambrose, writing for Examiner.com, reviews my book, Artists&Thieves which recently won the San Diego Book Awards in the Action/Suspense category.  Here is his review.  You can also read it at examiner.com:

“Linda Schroeder’s Artists and Thieves introduces us to Mai Ling, a fun and resourceful protagonist who recovers stolen arat for Interpol–but presents herself to the world as an artist.  Mai Ling’s world is filled with deception.  It’s a world where every donor is a potential thieft and every friend may have a secret agenda.

When her grandfather asks Mai to help him fulfill an ancient family promise, she’s torn between honoring that centuries old promise and her responsibility to Interpol. As Mai is drawn further from her role as an Interpol agent and closer to her role as a thief, she’s faced with temptations that will ultimately test her moral fabric.  Mai steals the vase from an antiquities smuggler.  But in this small world where all the players know the others, she quickly becomes a suspect, which also makes her a target.

As the art smugglers close in on Mai Ling, she becomes attached to the vase and begins to learn its secrets. And when the smugglers steal back the vase and nearly kill her grandfather, she vows to do anything to fulfill her promise. In the final moments, Mai is faced with one of the most basic questions of all–will she kill to get what she wants or not?

Readers interested in the art world will enjoy Schroeder’s characters, who seem to have just enough larceny in them to be unable to refuse an opportunity to make a big score.  And, for those who are tired of novels dominated by weak plots that only succeed due to an overabundance of senseless violence and sex, Artists and Thieves is a good alternative.  The violence isn’t excessive, but well placed.  The plot slows a bit as the vase changes hands a few times, but overall, this well-written mystery will have readers cheering for Mai Ling to fulfill her promise, but not lose sight of who she is.”

Art Fakes, real (Giacometti) and fictional (Donna Leon)

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Got bronze?

Evidently, a lot of people do.

Giacometti's Walking Man

Thane Peterson in the December 2010 issue of ARTnews writes about 1000 fake bronze sculptures supposedly made by Alberto Giacometti as well as furniture supposedly crafted by his brother Diego. The booty was found by German police in a warehouse in Mainz.  Estimated value:  somewhere in the hundreds of millions.  Five fraudsters (fraudsters is an actual word, although it sounds suspect) have been charged with selling the fakes.  But not manufacturing them.  The foundry or foundries which made them have not been discovered.  The case is on-going and sure to be complicated.

There is an interesting web site which advocates for bronze artists and lists forged bronzes, www.bronzecopyright.com. You can get a sense of the scope of bronze related theft.

Got plot?

Zillions.  Art theft and fraud make for great plots in mystery novels.

Venice's Acqua Alta

I recently read one of Donna Leon’s novels, Acqua Alta. The title refers to the tide waters which periodically rise inundating Venice with the sea. Leon’s careful descriptions of the rising water throughout the story provide the overall sense of ominous danger. Her story involves real treasures on loan to Venice from China which are duplicated and the replicas returned to China while the real art is kept in private collections. It’s a detective mystery with art the reason for murder.

Art mysteries, real and fictional, are making a lot of good reading now. I used art theft as a plot devise for my novel Artists&Thieves. My heroine steals not for money but to atone for an ancestor’s shame.  Some years ago I read Peter  Carey’s Theft which is so good, and Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Flanders Panel which is a chess game of investigation.  They were the tip of an iceberg for me which I hope doesn’t melt away any time soon.

It is easy to imagine the greed, lies, and schemes which infuse the art market and novels with faked art and murder. Not so easy to figure out why, in reality, we are duped on so many levels.

Art Olio/Apple Apps

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Precision by Ken Smith

Star of India sails

A new selection of Urban Trees is spread out along San Diego’s waterfront and the Star of India’s Halloween sails have been replaced by its regular, untattered sails.

However, the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes’ sails are still underwater off the coast of Gibraltar.  And Odyssey Marine Exploration is still trying to get salvage rights to her treasure of Spanish coins minted in Peru. The Mercedes was a Spanish Royal Navy Frigate which sunk in a sea battle during Spain’s war with England in 1804. The Eleventh Circuit Court of appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, is hearing Odyssey’s appeal to the dismissal of its claim to the treasure. Kimberly Alderman on her blog at www.culturalpropertylaw.wordpress.com is following the case, known as the Black Swan case, for us.

Still out there, and might as well be under water, are the five masterpieces stolen from the Paris Museum of Modern Art in May 2010 (www.dailymail.co.uk), and the dozen masterpieces, including three Rembrandts,  stolen from the Gardner Museum in 1990 and recounted for us by Ulrich Boser in The Gardner Heist. And a lot of other stolen art. Check out Art Theft Central.

Caravaggio's Fanciullo con canestro di frutta

Digital painting by David Hockney

But the good news is that this is the 400th anniversary of Caravaggio’s death and he has an Apple App with English text and Italian narration. How great is that!  An iPad app for a 16th century painter who probably used a camera obscura set-up to create some of his work.

At least, David Hockney thinks he did, as he explains in detail in his book Secret Knowledge (2001).

And David Hockney himself has iPads and iPhones bolted to the walls in Paris’ Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation with his digital drawings glowing away (www.bbc.co.uk; http://bigthink.com). He created them on Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

I wonder what counts as the “original work.”  Something embedded in electronics–you’d have to display it over your mantel on an iPhone or iPad.  Anything else would be just a copy, once removed from the original. Maybe the only original is on Hockney’s own iPhone or iPad. In which case, anything on anybody else’s iPhone or iPad  is a heck of a lot more than “once removed.” And if you print it out as I did here,  it’s a facsimile.

And if Hockney’s  iPhone and iPad are carried to the bottom of the sea in a ship wreck,  the art probably won’t be salvageable.

Curious.

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ART THEFT

Monday, July 19th, 2010

At Christo’s June 25 meeting in Salida, Colorado, he spent a lot of time explaining his Over the River project for the Arkansas river which runs through Salida. A woman asked him if he would consider selling the drapery fabric and donating the money to Salida’s art venues. He said no. He never sells anything. He gives away the fabric in small pieces and recycles the metal support structures but doesn’t so much as sell t-shirts. He gives them away. Light blue with a “I support Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Over the River.” He did sign the front.

One of the nice things about Christo’s art is that it can’t be stolen. On second thought, in a way it can. The actual art work can’t, but ideas aren’t protected by copyright. Witness the AT&T television commercial featuring the  draping of Las Vegas in orangish colored cloth like Christo used in The Gates of Central Park. There is a tiny print disclaimer at the bottom of the commercial stating that Christo had nothing to do with it. If it didn’t remind us of Christo, why the disclaimer?

Robert Wittman in Priceless tells us that art theft is the fourth big money crime after drugs, money laundering, and illegal arms sales. By all accounts it is a down and dirty business whether the criminal is a museum employee like the insignificant guy who stole the Mona Lisa in 1911 (see R.A. Scotti’s Vanished Smile) or a high class guy like Lawrence Salander whose “convoluted and fraudulent business dealings” are reported in the summer issue of ARTnews.

Mona Lisa

When the Mona Lisa was stolen in 1911, the whole world cared and her face became the most recognized face in the world. She’s also not protected by copyright.

The challenge in fiction is to make the reader care about art theft or forged art. Peter Carey does it well in Theft.  Michael Gruber weaves a sympathetic tale of a forger in The Forgery of Venus. Non-fiction sets up the facts for us as in Wittman’s Priceless. Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo examine the strange world of a real con and a forger in Provenance. And we wonder at the world in which art commands such money and such crime.

In Artists&Thieves I tried to look at what makes art valuable. The story evolved into a tale of a family treasure which needed to be returned to its ancient place of honor.

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