Length: 240 pages
Audiobook Length: 5 hours and 39 minutes
First Published: 2023
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 ten 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.
In The Art Thief, Michael Finkel brings us into Breitwieser’s strange and fascinating world. Unlike most thieves, he never stole for money, keeping all his treasures in a single room where he could admire them to his heart’s content. Possessed of a remarkable athleticism and an innate ability to assess practically any security system, Breitwieser managed to pull off a breathtakingly number of audacious thefts. Yet these strange talents bred a growing disregard for risk and an addict’s need to score, leading Breitwieser to ignore his girlfriend’s pleas to stop–until one final act of hubris brought everything crashing down.
Quotes from The Art Theif
It isn’t action, he suspects, that usually lands a thief in prison. It’s hesitation.
Knowing when not to take an item, however deflating, is mandatory for a thief expecting career longevity.
Depressive episodes closed around him like curtains and could hang there for weeks.
About Michael Finkel
Finkel is an author and reporter who has reported from over 50 countries. He currently divides his time with his family between Utah, USA, and in France. Visit the author’s website →