Organised crime and illicit trade of works of art in Italy

The following text is a simple presentation of issues regarding the protection of cultural heritage and the illicit market for works of art.


Below is a list of books and documents that address art crimes and security:

The illicit antiquities trade: an analysis of current antiquities looting in Israel, Blum, Orly. Illicit Antiquities Research Center

Archeology and Artefacts, Protection of during War, Wilmoth Lerner, Adrienne. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security. 2004.

Counterfeit (forgery from art to archaeology, Cole, Sonia. Charter, 1999.

The Fake: Forgery and Its Place in Ar, Radnoti, Sandor and Dunai, E. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 1999.

Museum of the Missing: A History of Art Theft, Houpt, Simon and Radcliffe, J. Sterling. 2006.

Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property: Museums Against Pillage, Leyten, H. Koninklijk Instituut Voor De Trpoen. 1995.

The Medici Conspiracy: The Illicit Journey of Looted Antiquities – From Italy’s Tomb Raiders to the World’s Greatest Museums, Watson, Peter and Todeschini, C. Public Affairs. 2006.


Here you will find a list of links to current articles pertaining to art crimes and art security

ABC News:

“Warhol fakes raise questions in the art world, but no answers” Sunday, January 6, 2008.


“Art forgery pensioner spared jail” Monday, January 28, 2008.

“Art con fake may go back on show” Tuesday, January 29, 2008.

“Sentencing delay for art forger” Friday, January 11, 2008.

“British forger fools US museum” Thursday, December 13, 2007

“Statue forger jailed for art con” Friday, November 16, 2007

“Fraudsters who resented the art market” Friday, November 16, 2007

The Gist

“The Crimes They Are A-Changin’: Art Theives are Scrapping Stealth for Brute Force.” By Marc Spiegler. Posted Thursday, August 26, 2004.

The Guardian (

“Brazil police hunt £28m art theft mastermind.” By Tom Phillips. Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2008

“Italian city rings alarm bells over 1994 art theft.” By John Hooper. Tuesday, November 27, 2007.

“Fake warriors ‘art crime of decade’, say German critics” By Kate Connolly. Thursday, December 13, 2007.

The Herald Tribune:

“Two Picasso paintings stolen from Swiss exhibition, police say.” The Associated Press. Published: February 7, 2008

“Armed robbers steal 4 masterworks in Zurich.” By Uta Harnischfeger and Graham Bowley. Published: February 11, 2008

“Some of the biggest art thefts in recent times”. The Associated Press. Published: February 11, 2008

“Big art theft in Zurich raises fears for smaller museums.” The Associated Press. Published: February 12, 2008

“Art theft’s less than glamorous reality.” By Randy Kennedy. Published: February 17, 2008

“Swiss police may have found paintings stolen in Zurich art heist.” The Associated Press. Published: February 18, 2008

Jerusalem Post

“Art theft victim, Venezuela both claim ‘historic documents’.” The Associated Press. June 8, 2006.


“Art Fake Dealer Kennedy, Figure in 2005 Milwaukee Case, Arrested on Federal Charges in Florida” By Michael Horne. Friday, February 1, 2008