SPOTLIGHT: Renoir's Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair
While most equate art theft with elaborate museum heists, the most common place from which art is stolen is private homes.
On the evening of September 8, 2012, an armed thief broke into a Houston home and demanded from the owner her valuables. Fearing that the thief would go upstairs in the home where her son was sleeping, she pointed to a painting and told the thief that it was the most valuable thing she owned.
She wasn’t bluffing: the thief grabbed her Renoir—worth at least $1 million—from her wall and made off with it. Ironically, without her direction, the thief would likely have known nothing of the value of the painting.
Despite the best efforts of investigators and a hefty reward of $50,000 from the private insurer, the painting remains missing and is featured on the FBI's list of Top Ten Art Crimes.