Avant in Procession by Vincent Jean-Baptiste Chevillard was the first painting to be stolen in Australia; the small painting was taken in 1885 but fortunately it is still in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. I am still working on my book on art crimes.
At first the book was just going to be about Melbourne’s art crimes but I have since expanded it to cover art crimes in Australia. I did’t want to buy into the old interstate rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney and I had already written about several art crimes that involved interstate and international elements. There are also several interstate true crime stories that were too tempting for me not to write about including the fake Pollock exhibition that toured Australia. Then I got a scoop about Picasso’s La belle Hollandaise taken from the Queensland Art Gallery and I’ll leave that as a teaser.
So as part of my seemly endless research for this book, please contact me if you can help with any of the following.
Can anyone suggest any politically motivated crimes involving art outside of Melbourne, apart from the decapitation of statues (see my post about Australia’s most controversial sculptures).
Any interesting crimes involving graffiti that are not from Melbourne, aside from Buga-up.
Any art crime in Tasmania, as it is one state or territory where I haven’t heard of even a stolen painting.
Any of the relatives of Constantin Celli, an artist who trained in Florence, who was residing in Paddington in 1906 when he was exploited by some crooked antique dealers, because I’d like to find out what happened to him later in his life.
The current owners of a miniature, ‘Wings, Ancient and Modern,’ depicting a boy, with birds flying around him and aeroplanes in the sky by the English painter, Dora Webb because it would be fascinating to know where it has ended up.
A serving or former police officer in Australia who has investigated any art theft, art forgery or the vandalism of art and wants to discuss the crime.
For more information about my investigation of art crimes see my previous blog post about my art and crime book.