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The Art of the Steal (2009)

Unrated | | Documentary | 29 September 2009 (USA)
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Documentary that follows the struggle for control of Dr. Albert C. Barnes' 25 billion dollar collection of modern and post-impressionist art.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Julian Bond ...
Himself - Chairman of the Board, NAACP
David D'Arcy ...
Himself - Correspondent, The Art Newspaper
Richard Feigen ...
Himself - World-Renowned Art Dealer (as Richard L. Feigen)
Richard H. Glanton ...
Himself - Former President, Barnes Foundation
Christopher Knight ...
Himself, Los Angeles Times
Ross L. Mitchell ...
Himself - Former Director of Education, Barnes Foundation
Irv Nahan ...
Himself - Former Teacher, Barnes Foundation
Harry Sefarbi ...
Himself - Artist & Former Teacher, Barnes Foundation
John F. Street ...
Himself - Mayor of Philadelphia (as John Street)
Nick Tinari ...
Himself - Attorney & Former Barnes Foundation Student
Robert Zaller ...
Himself - Professor of History & Politics, Drexel University (as Dr. Robert Zaller)
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Storyline

Documentary that follows the struggle for control of Dr. Albert C. Barnes' 25 billion dollar collection of modern and post-impressionist art.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

art | barnes foundation | See All (2) »

Taglines:

The true story of a multi-billion dollar art heist and how they got away with it.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

Release Date:

29 September 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Искусство воровства  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$39,019 (USA) (26 February 2010)

Gross:

$541,027 (USA) (21 May 2010)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Did You Know?


Soundtracks

Chamber Fight
Written by Eban Schletter
Courtesy of DL Music
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User Reviews

 
The greatest theft ever committed
19 January 2013 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"The Art of the Steal" is about not only the greatest art theft in the world, but probably the greatest crime ever committed. And at this point, let's define "greatest". In this sense, "great" means comparatively large in size or number, unusual or considerable in power or intensity, and of an extreme or notable degree. It does not mean wonderful, first-rate, or good. This theft wasn't even deemed a crime in the first place and was committed by mobsters, city of Philadelphia politicians, and educators.

The documentary follows the story chronologically. It starts with Dr. Albert C. Barnes' educating himself about art and building an immense art collection. He's a good guy. He wanted to appreciate art for art's sake, not for its perceived value. He started the Barnes Foundation, complete with approximately $30 Billion dollars worth of art work by some of the world's most eminent painters. And, yes, that's Billion with a "B". The legal articles of incorporation for the Barnes Foundation made it very clear that this was a private, educational institution. Art students were encouraged to sign-up for classes or a visit. The "fat cats" of Philadelphia were not.

The next part of the documentary was Barnes' death in 1951. It makes you gasp if you think about what could happen to the Foundation if he didn't adequately prepare for its life after his death. The story kept weaving its way through twist after twist and for somebody who is completely uneducated in art history, each point was more shocking than the one before.

The good news is that Barnes' did adequately prepare the Foundation in the event of his death. He had a legal Will and Testament firmly in place. It was first left to his trusted friend, Violette de Mazia, and she did the best she could. Even in the event of her death, which happened in 1988, Barnes still had the legal ownership of the Foundation intact. The bad news is that greedy, manipulative people in power do not have to follow legal documents. To them the legal system is this little joke which they can just look down on and laugh at as they proceed to do the opposite of what was supposed to happen – legally and morally speaking that is.

"The Art of the Steal" is a great documentary because they even managed to get people like "educator" Richard Glanton, the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Mayor of Philadelpha, and a corrupt judge to speak in front of the camera admitting to what they did, in direct opposition to the law, completely nonchalant to their immoral actions. And the world just has to sit back and watch them commit the greatest crime ever.


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