Stéphane Breitwieser alleged to have committed more thefts


Sibylle of Cleves at the time of her betrothal to Electoral Prince John Frederick, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526. This work was stolen by Breitwieser in 1995 from a castle in Baden-Baden.

The notorious art thief Stéphane Breitwieser who committed numerous thefts in France, Switzerland, and Germany between 1995 and 2001 is alleged to have continued committing crimes after his release from prison. He worked as a waiter travelling around Europe, and stole on average once every 15 days a quantity of art estimated to total $1.4 Billion. In 2006 he wrote an account of his thefts. But that book has not it seems sold very well, or occupied Breitwieser’s time.

Vincent Noce reports for the Art Newspaper that:

He had been under surveillance since 2016 when he offered a 19th-century paperweight on eBay. Several such objects were stolen from the crystalware museum in Saint Louis, owned by the fashion house Hermès. At his house in the city of Marmoutier, police also discovered roman coins from an archeological museum and other pieces from local and German galleries; €163,000 in cash was stashed in buckets at his mother’s home.


Serial art thief Stéphane Breitwieser arrested—again, The Art Newspaper (Feb. 14, 2019), http://theartnewspaper.com/news/serial-art-thief-stephane-breitwieser-arrested-again [https://perma.cc/NR7T-97LN].

"He really loves art. . . "

This is what an art thief looks like.

“. . . but also the money that he can get from it”.

So says an unnamed source describing the notorious Stéphane Breitwieser who stole 240 works of art, went to prison, wrote a memoir and has been arrested again in his home:

At Breitwieser’s home, police discovered about 40 paintings, three sculptures, and a tapestry, French newspaper Le Parisien reports. At Breitwieser’s mother’s place, cops also found a landscape by a Brueghel pupil that had been stolen from a Brussels museum. Several valuable objects, including chandeliers and pocket watches, were also discovered in the pond next to Breitwieser’s mother’s house. In the past, she destroyed several paintings in order to protect her son, and also hid his stolen artworks along a highway, in a canal, and even in a neighbor’s chicken coop.

  1. Police Nab Europe’s Most Notorious Art Thief — And His Mom, Too, ARTINFO France, April 25, 2011, http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/37537/police-nab-europes-most-notorious-art-thief-and-his-mom-too/ (last visited Apr 25, 2011).
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