I love heist stories, especially ones about art theft. The double-crossings, the high stakes, the larger-than-life personalities. There’s something elegant about the archetypal art thief, someone who isn’t just stealing whatever they can get their hands on but who loves and appreciates art, has a strong aesthetic sense, and possesses a keen mind able to map out elaborate plans and evade security systems and the dogged law enforcers on their tail.
Sometimes the valiant detective is the protagonist of the tale, but more often we’re on the side of the clever, plucky, or downright ballsy criminal. While in most detective fiction we’re following along with the detective, hoping for justice to win the day, with heists, we get a peek at the other side of the curtain. We want the band of rogues to get away with the crime, often cheering as our Robin Hood relieves the rich of that pesky Picasso they probably don’t appreciate anyway.
And a story that talks about art well is always a joy, showcasing that numinous quality of great art and artists, giving us an insider’s view into how art is made, why it is made, and why some pieces can so completely capture our imagination.
I’m going to share some of my favourite fiction, non-fiction, and movies about art heists with you this month. Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss a post!