Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Releases "Stolen," the First-Ever Book About the 13 Works of Art Taken in 1990 Theft

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has published its first-ever pictorial book, “Stolen,” about the 13 works of art taken from the Museum in 1990 including essays from key staff members.

BOSTON (April 2018) - The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has published its first-ever pictorial book, “Stolen,” about the 13 works of art taken from the Museum in 1990 including essays from key staff members. Created in response to Museum visitor requests for more information on these important works, the book aims to keep the missing artwork continuously visible to the public, which has not seen the paintings or other works in 28 years.

In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the Museum and left with 13 works of art including Vermeer’s painting, The Concert, Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Manet’s Chez Tortoni, and Edgar Degas’ Leaving the Paddock. The theft of more than $500 million worth of artworks remains the largest unsolved art heist in history.

The Concert, one of only 36 paintings by Vermeer, and Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, his only known seascape, are considered amongst the most valuable stolen objects in the world.

In “Stolen,” the book begins with the phrase, “They came for the Rembrandts,” and details each work, the artists, and the galleries from which they were taken. The foreword by Peggy Fogelman, the Norma Jean Calderwood Director, addresses the profound and lasting loss of these stunning, irreplaceable works. “When thieves robbed the Gardner of some of its greatest masterpieces,” she writes, “they relegated these objects to the past, to memory, far from the everyday encounters that keep them vital and connect them to our lives today … Our intention for this book, with its images of the stolen art, is to help keep these masterworks present until we can celebrate their return.”

An essay by Anthony Amore, the Museum’s Security Director and Chief Investigator, titled, “81 Minutes,” describes the events and timeline that transpired during the theft. He reiterates the Museum’s commitment to the $10 million reward for any information that successfully leads to the recovery of the works of art.

Dr. Christina Nielsen, the William and Lia Poorvu Curator of the Collection, offers her thoughts on the extraordinary artworks and their cultural and artistic significance. “Isabella Stewart Gardner’s gallery installations—the careful arrangements of decorative arts, furniture, paintings, and sculpture throughout her Museum—were, themselves, total works of art ... Gardner’s original intention in placing each of her treasures just so, and our ability to be inspired by them, has been sadly interrupted.”

The book includes images and the background of each of the stolen works as well as an overview with before and afterward photos of the galleries they were taken from.

“Stolen” (Benna Books) is available at the Museum’s Gift at the Gardner beginning April 2, and in local bookstores, and online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon.

Anyone with information should contact Anthony Amore by calling (617) 278-5114 or emailing [email protected]

For more information please visit gardnermuseum.org/resources/theft.

For images of missing works, please click here.

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