The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is highlighting the theft of 13 important masterpieces by marking the 25th anniversary of the heist. The robbery is the largest on record since WW2. The missing works include: Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633), A Lady and Gentleman in Black (1633) and a Self Portrait (1634), an etching on paper; Vermeer’s The Concert (1658–1660); and Govaert Flinck’s Landscape with an Obelisk (1638); and a Chinese vase or Ku, all taken from the Dutch Room on the second floor. Also stolen from the second floor were five works on paper by the Impressionist artist Edgar Degas and a finial from the top of a pole support for a Napoleonic silk flag, both from the Short Gallery. Edouard Manet’s Chez Tortoni (1878–1880) was taken from the Blue Room on the first floor. The works are showcased in a virtual tour of the gallery which explores each artwork, along with lectures about the theft by the Museum’s security director.
“Although a quarter century has passed since the art was stolen, we have always been determined to recover it and we remain optimistic that we will.” said Anne Hawley, the Gardner Museum’s Director. “On this anniversary, we will honor the missing artworks. They are an irreplaceable part of our cultural heritage, and we want to keep them present in the minds of the public.”
The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office, are supporting the programme with the sight to recover the missing artworks, which were stolen over the course of an 81-minute robbery in the early morning hours of March 18, 1990. The case remains open and active.
This month, the Museum will mark the anniversary of the theft in three ways: · This week the Museum launched a virtual tour, Thirteen Works: Explore the Gardner’s Stolen Art, on its website. Using Google Art, high-resolution images of the artwork, and archival images, the tour will explore the history of the artworks and how Isabella Stewart Gardner acquired them. The museum will also highlight the artworks on its social media channels in the days leading up to March 18.
On March 18 and March 26, Anthony Amore, the Gardner Museum’s Director of Security, will deliver a lecture, “81 Minutes,” where he will walk audiences through the events of 25 years ago. The March 18 lecture will be open to museum members only. · The Museum’s docents will now include a discussion of the theft and the missing artworks in their introductions to the Museum and tours of the collection, which are offered to the public on most days that the Museum is open.
The Museum is offering a reward of $5 million, guaranteed by its Board of Trustees, for information leading to the recovery of the works in good condition. The Museum encourages anyone with information about the location of the stolen artworks to contact Amore directly at 617-278-5114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Most of the time when great masterpieces are stolen and recovered, recovery happens either immediately or a generation later,” said Amore. “We are working hard every day to follow every lead and find these artworks. We continue to partner closely on the investigation with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office, who share our resolve to bring these artworks home.”