Art Theft, By Sandy Nairne
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 13 October 2012
Sandy Nairne was the Tate's director of programmes when, in 1994, two prize Turners were stolen while on loan in Frankfurt.
This book of two halves begins with a riveting, edge-of-seat chronicle of the eight years of subtle sleuthing and wrangling that led to the paintings' recovery.
As he engages with undercover policemen, top financiers and Serbian crime lords (via seedy lawyers), this is a fabulously involving tale.
The second part, drier but shrewd, shores up Nairne's scholarly credentials with a survey of art-theft as fact and myth.
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