Strad Heist in Vienna

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Ralph
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Strad Heist in Vienna

Post by Ralph » Thu May 31, 2007 3:01 pm

From playbillarts.com:

Stradivarius Violin Stolen From Vienna Apartment

By Matthew Westphal
May 29, 2007

A 1680 Stradivarius violin worth about €2.5 million was stolen over the weekend from an apartment in central Vienna.

Also missing were a Vuillaume violin valued at about €120,000, three bows worth €12,000 in total, and some jewelry and electronics, according to reports from Agence France-Presse and RIA-Novosti.

The thief or thieves evidently knew what they were after and what was necessary to get it: he or they brought a blowtorch and used it to break into the wall safe where the instruments were kept.

The victim, a 49-year-old Austrian violinist who was not further identified, discovered the theft upon returning home on Sunday night (May 27) from a chamber music performance in Germany, according to the Associated Press.

The Austrian police and Interpol have issued warrants for the arrest of the thief or thieves, but authorities have said that there were no witnesses, according to AFP, and so far there seem to be no further clues.
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Lance
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Post by Lance » Thu May 31, 2007 3:27 pm

Now that the thief or thieves has these instruments, obviously they will not be able to sell them to anybody in their right mind, unless they want these instruments for their personal collection and have no care if they are ever played. What a shame. The world seems to get worse and worse with regard to these kinds of happenings. I'm waiting to see if anybody's fine piano or pianos are even stolen in this manner! They, of course, would not have the value of a Strad.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jbuck919
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Re: Strad Heist in Vienna

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:45 am

Ralph wrote:The victim, a 49-year-old Austrian violinist who was not further identified,,,,
Maybe not there, but the whereabouts and ownership of every Strad are public knowledge, There is a website I know I have accessed in one of my rare idle moments. :) They are by no means all in the hands of great virtuosi or museum collections.

As to Lance's comment on the fact that the thief could not find a fence for such a thing, true, but that also didn't stop the guys who perpetrated the theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the most likely explanation of the fate of those works is that they have been destroyed.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Gregg
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Re: Strad Heist in Vienna

Post by Gregg » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:03 am

jbuck919 wrote: and the most likely explanation of the fate of those works is that they have been destroyed.
What makes you think they were destroyed, I always assumed that it was a targeted theft and that the works are in someone's art hideaway somewhere in the world?


Gregg

Lance
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Re: Strad Heist in Vienna

Post by Lance » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:59 am

jbuck919 wrote:
Ralph wrote:The victim, a 49-year-old Austrian violinist who was not further identified,,,,
Maybe not there, but the whereabouts and ownership of every Strad are public knowledge, There is a website I know I have accessed in one of my rare idle moments. :) They are by no means all in the hands of great virtuosi or museum collections.

As to Lance's comment on the fact that the thief could not find a fence for such a thing, true, but that also didn't stop the guys who perpetrated the theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the most likely explanation of the fate of those works is that they have been destroyed.
Yes, what a pity about the Gardner Museum theft. The last time I was there, the frame was still in its place awaiting the return of the painting. There may be some truth to the point that some wealthy collector has these items in his own gallery never to be seen by anyone else. It's a disease some collectors develop as they move about in their quest for great art or violins. Of course, this never happens to record/CD collectors! We want to share our findings!

Speaking of Isabella Stewart Gardner, I loved her home/museum and wanted to learn more about her. Several books were most revealing! (More than we want to know?!?) A couple of the titles include: Mrs. Jack: A Biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner by Louise Hall Tharp and Art of Scandal: The Life and Times of Isabella Stewart Gardner by Douglas Shand-tucci. Another book, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum edited by Hilliard T. Goldfarb concentrates more on the museum, it's paintings, and includes a biography of ISG. Hers was an era of opulence. Those were great (and somewhat surprising) days in Boston.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jbuck919
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Re: Strad Heist in Vienna

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:21 am

Gregg wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: and the most likely explanation of the fate of those works is that they have been destroyed.
What makes you think they were destroyed, I always assumed that it was a targeted theft and that the works are in someone's art hideaway somewhere in the world?


Gregg
It is true, from what I understand, that art thefts have several different motivations, including the one you mention. Still, two things are hard to imagine: (1) That they would have taken what they did and left behind Titian's Rape of Europa (to take the most obvious example) and (2) That anyone has a hideaway sufficiently secure that he could enjoy the works of art and take no risk that he would be reported. That scenario sounds like something from the old Dragon Lady comic strip.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

karlhenning
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Re: Strad Heist in Vienna

Post by karlhenning » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:24 am

Lance wrote:Yes, what a pity about the Gardner Museum theft.
An Interview with Rebecca Dreyfus director of Stolen

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
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http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
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