Art thefts are big business


As art masterpieces become more desirable, better security against thieves and tricksters is required.

The theft of well-known Indonesian artist Affandi’s Self-Portrait With Pipe (1973), which was sold at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction for 5 billion rupiah in May 2014, was solved with the arrest of two suspects in May this year.

According to the Indonesian mass media, the electrician contracted to the owner’s family and his driver hatched a plan to have the painting duplicated in 2006. They first spirited the original from the gallery near the owner’s house in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta, to an art forger and, within hours, hung back the duplicate on the wall space where the original was, without anybody being any the wiser.

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