For centuries, works of art have been stolen in countless ways from all over the world, but no one has been quite as successful at it as the master thief Stéphane Breitwieser. Carrying out more than two hundred heists over nearly eight years—in museums and cathedrals all over Europe—Breitwieser, along with his girlfriend who worked as his lookout, stole more than three hundred objects, until it all fell apart in spectacular fashion.
Exhilarating ... [A] meticulously detailed, page-turning account ... Finkel’s narrative interweaves gripping descriptions of Breitweiser’s in-plain-sight thefts armed with nothing more than stealth and a Swiss Army knife, a concise history of global art theft, and psychologists’ musings on Breitwieser’s unconscious motivations.
Thrilling ... This ultra-lucrative, odds-defying crime streak is wonderfully narrated by Finkel, in a tale whose trajectory is less rise and fall than crazy and crazier. Only briefly does his book lag, in its discussions of the alleged science of our attraction to art ... Over all, The Art Thief, like its title character, has confidence, élan, and a great sense of timing. It is propelled by suspense and surprises, and it is neither ashamed of nor stingy with the fundamental emotional payoffs of the heist—the disbelieving No way!, the unabashed glee at the deft accomplishment of the seemingly impossible and definitely illegal. Nor does it hesitate, when the time comes, to bring down the boom.