I recently took a tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum which I hadn’t visited in quite some time. She was a Boston philanthropist with an excellent eye for art. She built this museum to house her collection with the stipulation that nothing be moved. It is an incredibly beautiful space. But there’s more to the story.
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during a robbery that was in progress for over an hour. Guards let in two “policemen” who said they were there to respond to a disturbance. After tying up the guards, the thieves took a leisurely stroll through the museum, stealing the art that caught their eye. Based on the pieces that they stole, police speculate that they were not professional art thieves there to nap specific pieces for clients. Let’s take a look and reconstruct what is missing from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.!
Stolen Artwork from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The self-portrait of Rembrandt was here:
Self-Portrait – Rembrandt:
I think this was where the Vermeer used to be, though it could be on the other side which has another frame of about the same size. Isabella Stewart Gardner did not want any placards describing the art.
The Concert – Vermeer:
On the other side, I think it was the Flinck:
Landscape with Obelisk – Flinck:
I failed to get a shot of the empty frame for the missing Rembrandt but I found an old photo to mark the location. The painting that was stolen is called A Lady and Gentleman in Black.
Location in the Dutch Room of the missing Rembrandt:
A Lady and Gentleman in Black – Rembrandt
The thieves did not steal the Michaelangelo drawing which in my video, but took these five Degas drawings near it instead. The Michaelangelo is worth more though.
La Sortie de Pesage – Degas:
Cortege aux Environs de Florence – Degas:
Three Mounted Jockeys – Degas:
Program for an Artistic Soirée 1 – Degas:
Program for an Artistic Soirée 2 – Degas:
The frame which once held Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633):
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee – Rembrandt:
The frame which once held Chez Tortoni:
Chez Tortoni – Manet:
The thieves also stole two objects of art.
An ancient Chinese gu:
A French Imperial Eagle finial:
What’s even more amazing is that none of the artworks have emerged and no one has been caught for this theft. Thus, the perfect art heist remains a mystery!
And … if you have any thoughts about the missing art, be sure to leave it in the comments!
p.s. Police sketches of the suspects:
Here’s my tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. We are looking at the space for an event so I include photos of entertainment spaces for food and drink. The Michaelangelo drawing that was NOT stolen is included.
p.s. I’ll be posting on a list of art museum mystery books for kids.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.