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Art theft a form of flattery?

January 8, 2010

This comes from a post I read over at Peter de Séve’s blog, in which he talked about a break-in at a gallery where the only thing stolen was a book of his own artwork. He said ‘Naturally, I was happy.’
Back when I was in art school, one of my pieces was stolen along with the sketchbooks for that period. It gives you a mixed feeling- on one side, pride that it seemed good enough to warrant theft, mingled with sadness for the loss. Stapleton Kearns mentions this as well, at least I think he does, but I can’t find the relevant post (if you find it, do let me know!) I’d like to hear from anyone out there who has had their work stolen and how you felt about it. Allow me to clarify- I mean stolen as in robbery, not as in someone else using your work under their name, or for profit.

So, what do you think? Could art theft be seen as a form of flattery?

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 12, 2010 9:06 pm

    Wow. What a concept! I suppose it could be a form of flattery. The only frame of reference I have is what happened to one of our instructors at art college 20-something years ago. He brought in a bunch of his original illustrations to show those of us who were in his graduating class… they were from the high point of his career – all published illustrations done for major magazines in the ’70s. Afterwards, I guess he decided to leave them in his (open concept) office area. During the night somebody pinched them – all of them. He came in to class the next day and quietly told us. It was clear he was devastated. He was so angry and upset and looked at all of us with such accusation that I wanted to shrivel up and hide. He left the college after that and the next time I saw him was some years later on the street. He looked like a homeless person. I don’t know if it was the theft or if the theft was just the catalyst for a breakdown that was going to happen any way, but I have always carried the memory of that theft as an awful thing to happen to an artist.

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