“Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum”

The FBI appeals for witnesses to help recover lost paintings

On 6 August 2015 the FBI launched a fresh appeal for witnesses to help recover thirteen paintings stolen in 1990 from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The value of the stolen works is estimated at $500 million. On 18 March 1990, contrary to procedure, a night-guard named Richard Abath allowed two men disguised as police officers to enter the museum’s premises after they claimed to be investigating a complaint. The next day the police found him and another member of the museum’s security tied up and gagged. Amongst the thirteen major works stolen were a Rembrandt, a Manet, a Degas and a Vermeer. New studies of the security footage by the FBI have shown that Richard Abath also let another man into the museum compound the day before the robbery. The pictures released from the video seem to indicate a resemblance between the car used by the man who entered the day before the heist and the car used by the fake policemen. The FBI has requested the public’s help to solve the case. Meanwhile, the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum has offered a reward of $5 million to anyone with decisive information leading to the recovery of the paintings. The FBI has looked into the possible complicity of Richard Abath but it seems they are not pursuing this line of investigation....

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Sophie Calle at the Gardner Museum

Boston, 21 November 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Isabella Sewart Gardner Museum is holding the exhibition “Sophie Calle: Last Seen” until 3 March 2014. The 14 works on display, both photographic and textual in nature, make up two distinct series. The first, created in 1991 – Last Seen – is a series of texts and photographs created shortly after the 1990 theft of 14 artworks belonging to the museum. The second, What Do You See?, features pieces the artist created in 2012, revisiting her previous project. Sophie Calle is a writer, conceptual artist, photographer and filmmaker. Photography remains the focal point of her work. She challenges the relationship between text and photo, private and public characters, and truth and fiction in an innovative and original way. Her works are often characterised by a dry, documentary style. Her contribution to the understanding of the medium of photography has inspired a new generation of young...

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Twenty years later, the FBI finds the thiefs, but not the works

Boston, 20 March 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). In 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was burglarised, and the robbers left with a monumental loot estimated at $500m. On 18 March 2013, the FBI released on their website new information pertaining to this burglary. Twenty-three years ago, two robbers disguised as policemen tied up security guards and took hold of the works. American authorities might have eventually identified the robbers, but are still in search of the masterpieces, and call for the help of citizens, with a reward of $5m for anyone providing further information that may help with their recovery. Among the stolen works are paintings by Degas, as well as Tempest and the Galilee Sea, the first seascape ever painted by Rembrandt, and The Concert by...

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Greedy Heist for Valuable Antiquities

Boston, 7 March 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). Anthony Amore, head of security at the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston for over six years and longtime investigator, held a conference last weekend concerning the theft of works of art. Antiquities in particular have recently been stolen in large numbers. Three important heists of antiquities were reported over the course of the last six years. In February 2012, the Olympia Museum in Athens was victim to a particularly violent theft in which a security guard was tied up at gunpoint and glass exhibition cases were smashed, according to ARTFIXdaily. In total, 77 works were stolen, most of which were bronze and pottery figurines, vases, and lamps. In January this year, the Athens National Gallery was victim to the theft of a Mondrian and a Picasso.  At the museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, a theft in October 2011 of two archeological pieces worth hundreds of thousands of dollars was only recently made public. The biggest heist of works of art to ever occur took place on 18 March 1990 at the Gardner Museum.  Thirteen works were stolen, including three Rembrandts and five drawings by French impressionist Edgar Degas. The total value of these works is estimated at half a billion dollars. The theft and loss of antiquities and works of all genres are recorded at the London Art Loss Register, a computerised international database providing information on works of art, antiquities, and...

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New wing by Renzo Piano at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Boston, 16 May 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Isabella Stewart Museum will soon boast a new wing, scheduled to open on 19 January 2012. The museum is dedicated to European and American art and was founded in 1903 by Isabella Stewart Gardner, a philanthropist and patron of the arts who died in 1924.  Her collection is exhibited at the museum.  Soon after she opened the museum, she acquired Lucrezia by Botticelli, Europe by Titian, The Concert by Vermeer and a self-portrait by Rembrandt. The new wing, which cost 118 M$, will include galleries, a greenhouse, restaurant and 296-seat concert hall.  One of the objects of creating this new space was to preserve the old building dating from the 1890’s, designed in the style of a Venetian palace.  The museum is now 6,503,21 square meters large, as opposed to the original 5,564,18 square meters. The wing was designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano.  The new locale will be inaugurated by an exhibition of the work of Scottish artist Victoria Morton.  She will create a series of paintings for the event.  In addition, a small exhibition will be held tracing the history of the museum’s artistic residency programme, which will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2012.  Luisa Lambri and Stefano Arienti will also display their work.  ...

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