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Journalist Michael Finkel on seeing through the eyes of The Art Thief

By Kobo • April 17, 2024Kobo in Conversation Podcast

"The greatest art thief really changed for the better the way I experience a work of art. I sort of wish Breitwieser had never become a criminal—he could have become an art professor."

Michael spoke with journalist Michael Finkel, author of True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, and The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit as well as numerous articles about extreme places and unlikely people for Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, GQ, and the New York Times Magazine. His latest book The Art Thief is the story of Stéphane Breitwieser, a man whose theft of over 200 artworks from the sleepy museums of central Europe showed a singular obsession for possessing works of art that grab his attention—and the talent to bring them home.

The Art Thief: A True Story of Love, Crime, and a Dangerous Obsession by Michael Finkel

For centuries, works of art have been stolen in countless ways from all over the world, but no one has been quite as successful at it as the master thief Stéphane Breitwieser. Carrying out more than two hundred heists over nearly eight years—in museums and cathedrals all over Europe—Breitwieser, along with his girlfriend who worked as his lookout, stole more than three hundred objects, until it all fell apart in spectacular fashion.

This is a riveting story of art, crime, love, and an insatiable hunger to possess beauty at any cost.

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