When Art Theft Becomes Art Itself
When you ask him how as a policeman he got started in art, Charlie will politely correct your perception. "It's the other way around. I am an artist first and then a policeman," he states with a refreshing mix of artistic exhuberance and sensibility that emits only from those who are clearly established 'in their element'. Actually, artist Charlie is a police sergeant, an art theft investigator and art loss consultant as well, formally speaking,"as the director of Unitel's Art Recovery Consultancy division, Charles Sabba has CONCENTRATED on some of the world's major art theft mysteries, not as law enforcement, but more akin to the enigmatic world of intelligence operatives And this particular art theft consultant has done just that. On May 16th at 8pm Charles Sabba will seamlessly blend both careers and present to the public some behind-the-scenes insight on the search for the thieves via The Gardner Museum Heist Exhibition-lecture at the Salmagundi Club in NYC.
Accompanying Charles at his lecture will be an 8' x 10' Isabella Steward Gardner Heist freshly painted depiction, which includes many of the prominent figures that were and are involved in the 22 year old 'unsolved' case. If ever there were a way to artfully document this fascinating study of human behavior at it's worst and best - it is through Mr. Sabba, who paints with the unusual edge of an insider's eye. The estimated heist price was $500 million and included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet. It connected an heiress, mobsters and politicians, and a host of prominent business men and women spanning over a few decades and continents. The incredible irony of this long-running hi-end drama and the upcoming unveiling in May is that the original criminals actually kicked off the heist - dressed in police uniforms.
Mr. Sabba, who can often be found in his art loft at The duCret School of Art, located in Plainfield NJ, is a typical artist only in that - as artists often do - he has managed to put a whole new and rather lighthearted twist on the redundant theme of 'humans stealing from other humans'. It temporarily lifts a soul's focus away from the similarily unsolvable political and banking industry foibles of recent years. Perhaps in the very near future, someone might even be savvy enough to commmission Mr. Sabba to paint the connected-iconic figures involved in creating and proliferating the 'disappearing money syndrome' that became a devastated world economy!
Until his untimely death a few years back, former NYPD Detective and noted artist in his own right, Robert Volpe, the "Art Cop" who had headed up the NYPD's Art Fraud unit was Unitel's consulting director of our art loss services. We are pleased to announce the new appointment of Charles V. Sabba, Jr., as Unitel's consulting art loss director. Mr. Sabba maintains his primary duties as a career police officer in New Jersey, but will act as a special consultant to Unitel in the area of art thefts and advisor to Unitel concerning consulting advice for museums and other owners of art collections. Mr. Sabba, both an artist in his own right and a law enforcement officer, is presently a leading art theft chronicler and art historian. Mr. Sabba possesses an encyclopedic memory of all the world's major art thefts as well as a large database of known art criminals and informants throughout the world. Since 1990, Mr. Sabba, on his own personal time, has been studying the Isabella Gardner art theft - the largest unsolved art theft in the United States.
Mr. Sabba has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York and a certificate from the DuCret School of Art, Plainfield, New Jersey. He has completed courses at the FBI Academy, Quantico, VA in Forensic Facial Imaging and in 2004, completed a course in Art & Antiques Crime, New Scotland Yard, London. He has authored two articles: Sicilian Mystery: Where in the World is Caravaggio's stolen Nativity (US Italia Weekly); and, Museum of Stolen Art (US Italia weekly).
He is a member of the Salmagundi Club, New York, the leading American art club since 1871, as well as a member of the International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection.
Unitel and Avante Int'l Technology, Inc., announce the formation of a Strategic Alliance for Unitel to provide the Fine Arts client, Avante's break-through technology for the protection of Art Works and other valuables through the use of Avante's patented RFID technology.
Using sophisticated unobtrusive electronic monitoring tags unobtrusively fixed to the back of Art Works or other Valuables, and Avante's Real-Time location technology, Valuables are protected every second 24/7/365. The cost-effective system provides unparalleled visibility of the position, movement, ambient light level, temperature and humidity of every protected Work of Art with embedded tiny sensors that transmit instantaneous alerts. The IP-based RFID monitoring solution provides total real-time multi-layer security and safety providing even cell phone SMS text notifications everywhere, as well as mobile transportation of artwork by truck to shows or other locations via GPRS and satellite communications.
The entire system is web based and independent of any existing security system as well as providing input to existing communications infrastructure. Staff can be equipped with RFID ID badges that provides real-time as to location, movement and temperature data and panic- button interface.