Yesterday was the 19th anniversary of the theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft-the biggest art theft in history. In the middle of the night after St. Patrick’s Day, when all the cops were busy busting drunks, two people dressed up as police came to the door of the Gardner museum and were let in by the guards who were then tied up in the basement while the thieves spent over an hour in the museum, cutting paintings out of their frames. Here’s the Vermeer they stole: The Concert, 1658-1660.
Here’s one of the two Rembrants that is missing, and which a Boston Herald reporter-Tom Mashberg- supposedly saw when picked up in Southie and brought to some warehouse in 1997. Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633
The museum offers a $5 million dollar reward for information leading to the recovery of the art. Was it you, Whitey Bulger? When I worked there I would check the email for the museum. Almost daily someone (usually a “psychic”) would write, saying they knew where the paintings were.
I hope they still exist. I hope they’re being taken care of, aren’t rolled up and rotting, or destroyed. Every day I would experience a second of devastation when I saw those empty frames and thought about Isabella. The frames are still there, since her will stipulates nothing can be moved or changed in the museum (but that hasn’t been observed completely–don’t get me started).
Here’s the image sheet of the works that were stolen. The bronze eagle finial that was stolen has led people to believe the theft had something to do with the Irish mob in Boston.
Oh god this makes me so sad.
Here’s a link to an article about it in Big Red and Shiny, one of my favorite art journals, which links to several other stories about the theft.