This commentary by Marion Maneker is available to AMMpro subscribers. (The first month of AMMpro is free and subscribers are welcome to sign up for the first month and cancel before they are billed.)
Maybe a Dr. No Does Exist in the Art World
The New Yorker’s Jake Halpern has a long profile of Vrejan Tomic, the burglar who stole five paintings from the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in May 2010. The theft, which included a Modigliani, two Picassos, a Matisse and Légèr, was tagged with a notional value of $70m which drew international attention especially when combined with the fact Tomic gained entry through a high window in the lightly guarded museum.
During Tomic’s 2017 trial, the public fell in love with the idea of cat burglar with a passion for art:
- “French people are very fond of thieves’ stories when there is no blood,” Stéphane Durand-Souffland, who covered the story for Le Figaro, told me. “For us, Tomic is a perfect thief,” because he “acted without weapons, did not strike anyone, robbed not an individual but a poorly supervised museum, fooled the guards without any difficulty, and chose the works he took with taste.” Tomic was also “polite to the judges,” Durand-Souffland added.
Beyond Halpern’s descriptions of Tomic’s derring do—the admiring comments of Philippe Starck whose daughter was among Tomic’s victims—there’s an important revelation in the story that comes out mostly as an aside.
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