In the early morning hours of October 16, 2012, thieves looted The Kunsthal museum in the Netherlands, making off with seven borrowed paintings. The New York Times reported that the stolen paintings included works from artists such as Matisse, Monet, and Picasso, and could be valued at over $100 million. The New York Times article noted that the recent plundering brings back memories of a theft in 2010 in Paris where five paintings (including a Picasso and a Matisse) were stolen. Those two paintings alone were valued at about $130 million, and remain missing today. One must wonder whether such daring art heists would be so prevalent without the wealth and power that can be amassed in the underground world of art smuggling, as noted by Michel Van Rijn.
Thanks to Joe Fusco for his contribution to this post.