Apr 12, 2018

A man on trial in connection to a €2.5 million art theft admitted to shredding a stolen Georg Baselitz painting.

The trial began this week in the Munich Regional Court for the theft of roughly 15 Baselitz paintings (together worth millions) from a storage warehouse the artist used in the German town of Aschheim, DW reported. Last year, police arrested three men who worked for the art freight company connected to the storage facility, charging one with the actual theft and the other two (a father and son) with fraud and handling stolen goods. Though the works were stolen sometime between between June 2015 and March 2016, Baselitz only became aware of their disappearance after the father and son attempted to offload a stolen piece to a gallery owner, who then alerted the artist. The son admitted in court this week that he destroyed the painting Akt Elke (1976), in hopes of covering up the crime. The trial is slated to wrap up April 26th. This case is another reminder of why stealing art is a terrible idea—namely, it’s when you try to cash in that you get caught.