That Frantisek Drtikol photograph recovered by a California dealer has an even more interesting story behind it. The thieves sent it to the dealer without knowing that he was aware of the theft so they ended up helping recover the work soon after it was stolen from a museum in Prague. And it would turn out to be a rare case for The Art Loss Register’s Chris Marinello:
“What was very strange was Joseph was actually contacted in January about this piece before it was stolen,” said Marinello. “Which leads us to believe that it was possibly stolen to order, or the criminal was making sure that he would be able to sell this thing before he swiped it.”
Marinello said he often gets asked if artworks are ever stolen to order and the answer is generally no. It’s more common that a work will be stolen by a thief or thieves who then don’t know what to do with it. In this case, the thief tried to establish a buyer prior to the theft.