Only a few months ago the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) had to report the theft of a considerable number of works by Pieter Bruegel along with rare and valuable maps and atlases. The BnF immediately got into contact with the European libraries and with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). An ILAB security message was sent out to all affiliates worldwide, the theft was announced on the ILAB Stolen Books Database. Now the French police reports that the thief has been caught.
The New York Times writes:
“The French police have detained a low-level employee of the National Library of France in connection with the disappearance of a collection of 43 engravings by 16th-century artists valued at up to $4.4 million.
It was the second theft uncovered at the library this year, which holds more than 14 million books and other treasures, from photographs and maps to coins and medals. Earlier this summer, the library told the police that about 20 three-century-old maps had vanished from its Richelieu-Louvois branch, a 17th-century mansion in the heart of Paris that is undergoing renovation.
The library filed a police complaint about the missing engravings on March 13, after a visitor asked to see the works, also at the Richelieu branch, and it was discovered that they had been carefully cut out of a book, said Bruno Racine, the library’s director. He said the book held a collection of original engravings by anonymous artists influenced by the works of the 16th-century Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder, patriarch of a family of four generations of artists.
The national library spread the word about the missing works through a network of European libraries and an association of antiquarian booksellers ...”
Employee Held in Paris National Library Theft