Books about lost artwork

As I mentioned in my post on The Shadow Land, I love books about lost, stolen, forgotten, or forged artwork.  Here are some of my favorites that somehow involve works of art, in no particular order.

  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith – A recently uncovered but possibly forged painting is key to uncovering more about  the life of the first woman admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke’s in Holland.
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – A split second decision by a thirteen year old to grab a painting after the explosion at a museum that killed his mother will lead to serious repercussions throughout his adult life.
  • How to Be Both by Ali Smith – An amazing work about more than art.  Also, depending on the copy you have you will read either CAMERA or EYES first, and it will impact how you view the second half of the book.
  • The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova – This novel starts with a bizarre attack on a canvas at the National Gallery and then takes the reader on a tour of French Impressionism.
  • Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm – While mostly focused on Grace’s development, first into a criminal mastermind and then into a nondescript antiques restorer in Paris, a stolen painting lies at the center of her transformations.
  • The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun – Great cozy mystery involving forgery and deceit in the art world and the lost half of a masterpiece.  It’s also the first in The Cat Who Series.
  • The Muse by Jessie Burton – A masterpiece delivered to the gallery where Odelle works has a hidden and tragic history.
  • The Improbability of Love by Hannah Mary Rothschild – A painting worth millions found in a junk shop causes nothing but trouble as its dark history is revealed.
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes – A beloved painting given to Liv by her husband shortly before his sudden death may have been stolen during WWII and leads to a court case to determine it’s rightful ownership.

I know I had to have left some great ones off this list, so please let me know of any others in the comments!


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