‘The Art Thief’ comes to CMC Breckenridge July 17
Best-selling author Michael Finkel launches his latest nonfiction page-turner
July 13, 2023 – Between 1996 and 2001, Stéphane Breitwieser – the subject of author Michael Finkel’s “The Art Thief” – walked out of over 200 museums in broad daylight with hundreds of pieces of artwork. During this time, Breitwieser accumulated upwards of $1 billion worth of art – not to sell, but to secretly keep and admire in his mother’s attic.
Finkel will be at Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge on July 17 during a multi-city book launch tour for “The Art Thief.” The presentation is free and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Don’t expect Finkel to read aloud with his head buried in his book at this event. “I will not do any reading at my reading,” wrote Finkel on Twitter, promoting one of his presentations in Seattle earlier this month. “It’ll be way more fun than that, I sure hope.”
Finkel previously launched two other best-selling nonfiction books at the Breckenridge campus: “The Stranger in the Woods – The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit” (2017) and “True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa” (2005), the latter of which was made into a 2015 film starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.
On the fringe
For “The Art Thief,” released by Penguin Random House on June 27, Finkel continues his fascination with those on the fringe of society such as “True Story,” which traces the horrifying actions of Christian Longo, who murdered his wife and children, then fled to Mexico where, incredibly, he assumed Finkel’s name and identity.
Then there’s “The Stranger in the Woods,” which tells of Christopher Knight, who disappeared into the central Maine woods in 1986 and didn’t emerge until 2013 after a game warden caught him breaking into cabins to steal food.
Except in the case of “True Story,” in which, in a twist of fate, Longo the escaped murderer assumed Finkel’s identity, Finkel is particular about the book subjects he chooses.
“I pick stories carefully,” Finkel said. “In (art thief) Stéphane’s case, he never used violence and he never tried to make money from his thefts,” he said. “In a way, he’s Icarus; he’s an anti-hero. He flew too close to the sun.”
Finkel said he’s always known he wanted to be a writer. “First, you have to be innately talented as a storyteller,” he said. “Then you have to be steadfast in your pursuit to get published.”
“The Art Thief” book launch presentation is a CMC ArtShare event and will run from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Eileen and Paul Finkel Auditorium at CMC Breckenridge, 107 Denison Placer Road. Light refreshments will be served and copies of “The Art Thief” will be available; $30 will be donated to one of eight Summit County nonprofits with the purchase of each book. Visit "The Art Thief" for more information.