Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Monday, March 31, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Want the Gardner Art, Carmen Get it !!

Carman Thyssen Bornemisza In Her Own Words !!

I owe my passion for collecting to my late husband, Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza. As a child, I was in touch with the world of art thanks to my father’s interest in painting, which he himself practised in his spare time. I remember the smell of oil paint in his studio, as well as the frequent visits to the museums with my mother. Maybe it was my desire to understand the thoughts and the feelings of painters when they stand in front of a canvas that induced me to look for that wonderful sensation felt when one paints. Often my brother Guillermo and I used to paint together.

But it was not until I met Heini that I understood what it meant to be an art collector. I still keep in my memory the first time I saw with him the art collection in Villa Favorita, and the years we spent visiting museums, art galleries and artists’ studios, as well as the temporary exhibitions of works from our Collection, lent to different countries throughout the world.

In the 18th century, the travellers that visited Venice would take back with them vedute of the city of canals, admired for their beauty. This capacity of art to take us to other places and other times through the artist’s eyes has always fascinated me. This may be the reason why views and landscapes have a very relevant place in my collection. I believe painting is, above all, a way of carrying us to another reality. Since I began to acquire works of art, I have always felt that art should not be kept for oneself, but rather that it must be shared, and this is what I have tried to transmit to my son Borja. For this reason I wish to express my gratitude to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and to Spain.

Art Hostage comments:

Any chance Carmen ("Get it") can transmit the Gardner art back home to Boston, given her desire to share iconic art with the world ???

It will probably cost a few bucks, then whats a few million to a billionaire/ess ??

Another Gardner Heist theory is one of the paintings being moved out of Halifax, Nova Scotia to Genoa,Italy, then being collected by non-other than the late Baron Heini Thyssen for his stolen art collection, displayed in the Swiss villa.

When Heini died in 2002, Carmen (Get it) decided to dispose of the stolen Gardner art so as not to Blacken Heini's name further. Also the dispute with Heini's children over his Will left Carmen (Get it) exposed to being in possession of stolen iconic artworks.

So, Carmen (Get it) offloads the Gardner pieces to Jean Marie Messier, Irish Billionaire John Magnier and Irish Billionaire JP McManus.

Now, the IRA and the INLA get a whiff and conformation that John Magnier and JP McManus have the Vermeer and declare an interest.

Having denied to both the IRA and the INLA they have possession of the Vermeer, John Magnier and JP McManus find themselves in a Catch 22, if the hand the Vermeer back, via a confession Box and try and claim the reward via a friendly Priest, the IRA and INLA will be back for the original tribute and more, including penalties for denial. If these two Irish Billionaires retain the Vermeer they risk being exposed and all that will go with that dishonourable title.

You see the common denominator between most theories centre around an Irish Republican connection.

Let hope the common denominator of recovery is the Catholic Church Confession Box !!

Art Hostage says, fuck it, go for it, just give back the Vermeer and be done with it, Danegeld or no Danegeld.

High Value Stolen Art is nothing but "Headache Art" for all those who come into contact with it.
O'h, and don't forget, Dr No's, they don't exist !!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Jean Marie Messier Ponders Gardner Art Return !!


Thursday, Mar. 13, 2008


The trademark tan has dimmed, and his voice softens when he recounts the tumultuous events surrounding his downfall as a corporate titan. But if former Vivendi Universal CEO Jean-Marie Messier no longer boasts the "master of the world" moniker, don't expect to find him repudiating his stint as an empire-building media tycoon either. "I still receive e-mails and get stopped in the street by young people saying 'You gave me the desire to form my own company,'" says Messier.

He followed that very desire in the months after his 2002 ejection from Vivendi in the depths of the tech bust. With the help of a borrowed office, he founded the New York City--based mergers-and-acquisitions advisory boutique Messier Partners. Says Messier, in one of the rare interviews he's given since he left Vivendi: "I don't manage large teams anymore that run businesses that you can't control or you can't be sure to get satisfaction from. I like advising CEOs, and I love helping them with negotiations."

Acquisition negotiation is something Messier, 51, knows a little bit about, having overseen some $100 billion in M&A during his six years at Vivendi. Yet it is Messier's calamitous experience with the buzzy, fuzzy concept of convergence that has made him a player again. Just as in 2000, media and Web companies today talk of straddling a world in which users of any device--mobile phone, laptop, PDA, TV--can command voice, data, video, entertainment and games on demand. Messier saw that coming--perhaps too soon.

Now he is seeing some vindication in the strategy. He demonstrated that in 2006 when he steered Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy to spend $1.3 billion to buy online advertising and marketing specialist Digitas before that market got scalding hot. "We made a full screening of what was happening in the interactive-marketing media field, how it was going to impact [Publicis'] business and why they needed to make an early major move into that field," says Messier. Since then, he points out, every large player has followed the trend: Google with DoubleClick, Yahoo! with Right Media, WPP with 24/7 Real Media, and Microsoft with aQuantive. "We were first in online. Publicis was the only major player to have made an acquisition in this field at less than three times turnover [sales], whereas Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft had to fight for the remaining acquisitions with multiples of 10 to 12 times turnover."

Messier also advised Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity and the New York City-based private-equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in their $5 billion purchase of electrical equipment distributor Rexel, and he counseled computer-services company Unilog in its $1.1 billion sale to Britain's Logica. Other clients include French heavyweights Lagardère, PPR and Schneider Electric.

Still, given the outcome of his leadership of Vivendi--a forced resignation as the company teetered, paralyzed by nearly $35 billion in debt--one might suspect he'd be radioactive. If so, the toxic glow didn't last long. "Soon after I created Messier Partners," he says, "I was working with a big U.S. CEO, and I asked him why he'd chosen to work with me when he has all the major American investment banks at his feet.He said, 'Jean-Marie, how could I trust the advice of someone who has only ever had success?' To be able to give advice, you need to know the meaning of a decision and to have gone through ups and downs."

Don't expect a corner-office comeback. He says his distance from the C-suite is just as important as having occupied it. "A CEO knows his industry, so he is sick of seeing investment-banking teams come in and tell him he needs to buy a competitor he knows better than any of them," says Messier--a dapper suit and ready smile being his only holdovers from Vivendi days. "I've been on both sides: the advisory and the entrepreneurial side. I know what you feel and what you ask yourself before you make a major strategic move. And I know how desperately you need to get your head above the day-to-day work and be given perspective."

Messier got a lot of big-picture things right at Vivendi. Before its finances unraveled toward the end of 2001, the European powerhouse had staked out a strong base in the U.S. with assets such as Universal Studios and USA Network. The company's formidable media and telecom presence in Europe, meanwhile, allowed Messier to tantalize people with talk about how they'd soon be downloading music, sending photos and even watching video on mobile devices. Convergence of delivery and content, he promised, meant companies like his could offer it all. "Vivendi had the correct vision: the conversion of broadband and wireless to bring any content to anyone, anywhere, anytime, on any handset," Messier says. "That is all reality now. Anyone who saw me as a foolish guy in 2001 is quiet today."

True, but mobile phones didn't deliver the promised goodies-enabled technologies on schedule, and consumers refused to align their media purchases for Vivendi's benefit. Those are two reasons that Messier's successors at Vivendi have sold off many of its media units, while other convergence players, like Time Warner (owner of TIME), are considering disaggregation. "The emphasis now is being the best in the media activities you're focused on, not having all aspects of the sector covered," says a Vivendi official who asks not to be identified. Indeed, though Vivendi recently reacquired control of French telecom Cegetel, which it sold after Messier's departure, and is merging its games division with U.S. gamer Activision to create Activision Blizzard, the official says its strategy is significantly different from Messier's.

Messier sought to assemble the complete media group whose affiliates all do business with one another. Now, says the Vivendi exec, "we've reinforced our media activities in key areas and allow our affiliates to do business with whatever companies fill their needs best--whether inside or outside the group." Plug and play has supplanted media monolith. Still, Messier points to companies like News Corp. and Disney as examples of how big content providers continue to drive convergence.

Messier remains marked by the hostility and humiliation that swirled around him in his rapid transformation from star to villain. With his career and fortune in ruins, he recalls, his main "reason for waking up every morning was knowing my children were waiting for me to give them some hope for the future because they couldn't see their dad destroyed.

Time and work--and a little help from business friends--have supported a comeback. Messier occasionally meets French President Nicolas Sarkozy--a man he's known for 20 years and who "was one politician who never canceled any appointments" after the fall. Not surprisingly, he supports Sarkozy's dynamic entrepreneurial efforts to reform French society--a kind of cultural revolution Messier attempted within French business circles at Vivendi.

Messier is optimistic that his friend will succeed where previous French leaders failed, but he isn't ready to shift Messier Partners' HQ from New York City to Paris just yet. "The U.S. is the country of the second chance--where there isn't so much jealousy, and if you've had problems that you try to rebound from, everyone will applaud and will try to help," Messier explains.

Convinced that the convergence wave is peaking anew, Messier says he'll surf it by reminding clients how "vital it is to own their customers"--or face getting crowded out through "the increased dominance of Google." Playing the role of strategist and adviser in that evolution may not involve the "master of the world" role, but it will allow Messier to test his vision without the career risk that was once Vivendi.

Art Hostage comments:

Now do you see how difficult it is to get these powerful people to return the stolen art they have.

What with Prince Waleed given the cloak of respectability by non other than George Bush senior, and now Jean Marie Messier given a pass from non other than the current French President Nick Sarkozy, other means need to be employed to recover the Gardner art in these guys possession.

The Vermeer and the Irish connection are a different prospect, although the Catholic church confession box could be used by Jean Marie Messier and Prince Waleed as they are not expecting a financial reward.

Fear not, Anthony Amore is on the case, using his Homeland Security connections, with FBI Icon Robert Wittman/Geoff "Ned" Kelly whispering in his ear, approaches have been made to Jean Marie Messier to hand back the stolen Gardner paintings he has, without fuss, discreetly and without fanfare.

Although the political door has been slammed shut regarding Prince Waleed, further approaches are on-going and hopefully Prince Waleed will have a change of heart and allow some of his stolen art collection to be returned.

The Vermeer's current status:

Awaiting recovery as soon as Catholic Priest gets clearance from Rome to claim reward and pass it on. The Celtic Tigers are ready !!

Headache Art, thats what high value stolen art is, for all concerned !!
P.S. FBI should arrest Jean Marie Messier in New York on an International warrant from France, for antiquities smuggling, if Jean Marie Messier plays hardball.
Shhh, Art Hostage, FBI are playing Good Cop, Bad Cop comes later !!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Jean Marie Messier Goes Hollywood, Caught with Stolen Art Like Steven Spielberg !!

Oplontis, (Jean Marie Messier) fresco unveiled in Rome.
A Roman fresco stolen from the Vesuvian town of Oplontis and recovered by Italian art police from a private house in Paris has gone on show to the public for the first time at Rome’s Palazzo Massimo. The fragmentary fresco dates from the first century AD and at almost three metres long is the largest landscape painting ever discovered in the area near Naples that was covered in ash during the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.

Art police believe the fresco was secretly detached from the walls of a villa in Oplontis (modern day Torre Annunziata) in the 1970s and subsequently travelled to Europe on the illegal art market. Investigators say the painting was in Geneva in the early 1980s, and it then moved to Brussels before ending up in the French capital. It was removed from the house of a French publisher and art collector in February and returned to Italy.

Fresco fans wanting to see the landscape have until 1 June to visit it in Rome, where it is on display as part of the Rosso Pompeiano exhibition at Palazzo Massimo, after which it will be returned to the Pompeii archaeology department. Entry to the museum is free over the next few days as, like all city-run museums, Palazzo Massimo celebrates Culture Week.

Art Hostage comments:

What else was recovered from the Paris mansion of Jean Marie Messier ??

Did authorities recover the Manet stolen from the Gardner museum in Boston ?

Authorities did however, miss all the stolen art at the Messier rural villa, it has since been hidden.

The fresco came from Medici and Robin Symes also got paid a fee as a broker.
Follow the Robin Symes trail with this link below:

Update, Art Hostage has been informed by a French political insider that Jean Marie Messier has let it be known he is calling in favours owed by none other than the current French President Nick Sarkozy. This is being done via back-channels and the subject of the Gardner paintings will be put to Jean Marie Messier by Art Hostage's French connection.

Whilst not in possession of all of the Gardner paintings, the ones Jean Marie Messier has in his stolen art collection will be a start.

The recovered stolen and looted artworks from Jean Marie Messier are only the tip of the iceberg.

Upon another note, any input by Alex Boyle is going to be airbrushed out of the recovery, which, I might add, is true to form.

Sorry, nearly forgot, Art Hostage has learnt Jean Marie Messier may be in possession of the 1999 stolen Picasso taken in the French port of Antibes from the big Yacht belonging to a Saudi Prince, no not our old friend Prince Waleed, can remember this Saudi Prince's name, something like Ma Hat, Ma Coat !!

Previously Art Hostage thought this Picasso had been sold to Prince Waleed, which at the time seemed strange given it was stolen from a fellow Saudi, although there is rivalry amongst Saudi stolen art collectors of who owns the most wanted !!

Shhhh, we are not supposed to acknowledge the existence of Dr No figures !!

Especially when they are some of the most high profile public figures in Europe, America, North and South, Asia and the Middle East in particular. Not forgetting Russia and emerging India and China's new rich.

Come to think about it, there are Dr No Stolen art collectors from all parts of the world.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Underworld Where Icons are Held Art Hostage, Just Musings !!

Severna Park resident publishes book about sensational art heist

By WENDI WINTERS, For The Capital

The closest most of us get to $163 million worth of paint is standing inside a Home Depot.
But an art theft Feb. 10 in Europe, during which four paintings worth a total of $163 million were taken, is a loss to art lovers worldwide.
Such a heist can't happen in the United States, you think?

It could and it did.

Jerome "Jerry" Tuccille, 70, a former resident of New York now living in Severna Park, tells all about a heist years ago.

His story of the theft is entitled "Gallery of Fools: The True Story of a Celebrated Manhattan Art Theft."

Mr. Tuccille is the author of biographys of Donald Trump, and of the Texas Hunt family, of Alan Greenspan and press lord Rupert Murdoch. He's also written his own autobiography "Heretic: Confessions of an Ex-Catholic Rebel," and books about investing and Libertarianism.

Mr. Tuccille has lived quietly in Severna Park with his wife, Marie, for 14 years. His graying hair has been shaved off. Employed as the vice president of communications for a Baltimore financial services firm, he spends his spare time researching his books.

Back in 1969, Mr. Tuccille didn't think much of the headline in The New York Times that blared seven paintings valued at more than $500,000 had been stolen from the Stephen Hahn Gallery on Madison Avenue..

At the time, the gallery owner valued a painting titled "Nympheas" as worth "more than $100,000." That was one of numerous same-titled oil paintings of water lilies that Monet produced from 1900 to 1910.

A few years later, Mr Tuccille would be involved with the stolen paintings, He would stash some paintings under a quilt in his car.

So, Mr. Tuccille nearly had heart-failure when he spotted a Jan, 24, 1975, headline: "Stolen Paintings Picked Up by F.B.I.: Mount Vernon Man Seized on Extortion Charge." He worried that he would be implicated for having possessed the paintings at one point.

For six years, the painting, along with seven others, including a Renoir pinched from the Wally Findlay Gallery on 57th Street in New York City, were stashed in the Bronx basement of Mr. Tuccille's father, a mob wannabe.

The paintings also rested in Mr. Tuccille's own rusting station wagon; under the bed of the mother of one of his mobster cousins; in a New York barn, and, before some were recovered, behind a dumpster in Upstate New York.

Three of the paintings have never turned up again in public.

When Mr. Tuccille learned of the stolen paintings' location in a secret compartment built in the basement of his father's home, he removed them and put them in his station wagon, covered only by a ragged quilt.

Then, he calmly resumed his campaign as his party's candidate for governor of New York.

"The frames on those paintings were great artworks," said Mr. Tuccille. He "possessed" them in 1973 before mobsters broke them apart and rolled the canvases up. "They were handled by thugs with no appreciation for their artistic value," he said bitterly. "They were only aware of the paintings monetary value.

"Taken together, all the paintings would be worth more than $100 million today."

Of his decision to stash the paintings in his family car, Mr. Tuccille asked rhetorically: "Where do you hide these things? We lived in a little apartment. We didn't even have a closet or a dry attic. They sat in my car for at least a week. If I had turned them in, my father would have gone to jail. I didn't want that. I would have had to go into the Witness Protection Program; I didn't want that either. If I sat on them, my cousin, who had mob ties, would have come after me. I handed the artworks back to the thugs. It was the only way to go at the time."

Most of the zany real-life characters in "Gallery of Fools" are dead.

His father is gone, as is Aunt Molly, the mother of Georgie, the mobster. Georgie is 82 now, living in Upstate New York. He eventually went to jail for his involvement in the thefts, as did another mobster, George Daniel Annunziata.

"I sat on the story for 35 years," Mr. Tuccille said. "It was exploding and had to come out. It's a great story. You can't make that up. Like my running for governor - even though at the time it caused a lot of heartache and hardship."

During the quixotic gubernatorial campaign, in addition to sitting on a fortune in artworks, Mr. Tuccille lost his job and saw the fabric of his life unraveling.

In one of the truly funny scenes of the book, he finds a new job, and the beginning of a successful career. Writing books came later.

"Gallery of Fools" was published by iUniverse in February and will be in stores by the end of March. It is currently available at and

Art Hostage comments:

Interesting story and I wonder what parallels can be drawn with the Gardner Art Heist ?

Deep breath,....Well, the theory that the Gardner paintings were stolen by a Boston Cop, an Irish Republican, on the Lam in Boston and two others, followed by the sale to Joe Murray for $300,000, followed by Joe Murray trying to use the Gardner paintings to get an INLA prisoner released, refused by the FBI in Washington, although approved by the Boston Law Enforcement, followed by Joe Murray taking the Gardner paintings to his New Brunswick house for safe keeping, then Whitey Bulger using his FBI connections to track down and have Joe Murray murdered and the blame to be laid at the Joe Murray's Wife's door, who then dies of a Marilyn Monroe style drug overdose, followed by Whitey Bulger sending the Gardner paintings to Ireland to be held by an INLA leader in the West of Ireland. (Phew, bit of mouthful !)

Whitey Bulger is then re-united with the Gardner paintings in Ireland whilst on the lam and posing as a retired doctor, subsequently there is money loaned against the Vermeer for INLA purposes.

The INLA leader dies and Whitey Bulger leaves Ireland, on the advice of the FBI, as Whitey's residence in Ireland is becoming an embarrassment for mainstream Sinn Fein and the IRA, peace process and all that, then, when the Bulger squad arrives from Boston to Ireland, Whitey Bulger has long gone, tipped off.

Now, those with an interest in the Vermeer would like to cash it in for the reward but cannot settle on an methodology to achieve this ????

In steps Art Hostage and provides a clear pathway.

Vermeer deposited in Catholic Church confession box, Priest claims reward, having satisfied himself the returnee is innocent of the original theft and subsequent handling, he is just the returnee.

Alongside the Art Hostage plan we have the usual stings attempts, Golden Hello offers, sting in a long tail attempts etc.

The Da Vinci Madonna recovery last fall has spooked the Underworld and because of the considerable loss of money any further handbacks are being carefully scrutinised.

Speaking of the Da Vinci Madonna, you will not believe the turn of events now, more later !!

If the Vermeer handlers succumb to these sting attempts then they will have no-one else to blame but themselves for not taking the Art Hostage, Catholic Church confession box, Priest route.
Any delay in paying the Catholic Priest will be met by public condemnation and for this reason I am sure the reward will be paid as soon as the Vermeer arrives on American soil.

Conclusion, usual rules don't apply in the Gardner case and with the co-operation of the Catholic Church as mediators, the Vermeer can be the first Gardner painting home.
The INLA connection cements the Catholic Church confession box route as the INLA have used the Catholic church as mediators in the past, to hand over drugs confiscated from drug dealers for destruction, see link below:

However, Storm on the Sea of Galilee could take precedence, given the subject matter and being the only Rembrandt Seascape.

Come to think about it, I wonder what the odds would be for the first Gardner painting to be recovered ??

I know, how about Steve "Mr Magoo" Wyn, remember him, mogul who put elbow through Picasso, well he should open a spread on which stolen Gardner painting will be recovered first.

In fact why not an exhibit offering odds, that could raise some money for a good cause, triumph over tragedy.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, With Tom and Joe it Could be "Way To Go" !!

Real life Donnie Brasco vows to find £250m stolen art haul
Mar 25 2008 By Paul O'Hare

TWO retired FBI agents are joining forces to crack one of the biggest cold cases in American history.

Art theft expert Thomas McShane has teamed up with Joe Pistone, top, - the real-life Donnie Brasco - in an attempt to recover £250million worth of art stolen from a Boston museum 18 years ago.

Two men wearing fake moustaches and dressed as police officers got away with 11 masterpieces from the Isabella Gardner Museum on St Patrick's Day, 1990.

Despite a £2.5million reward, the case remains unsolved.

McShane, who recovered artworks worth more than £450million during a remarkable career, said: "I feel like we have had egg on our faces for 18 years."

Among the remarkable haul stolen in the raid was Rembrandt's Christ On The Sea of Galilee, worth £50million, and one of the few remaining Vermeers, The Concert.

McShane said: "Who were the thieves?

"Who, if anyone, were they working for?

"Why did they take what they did and leave behind a wide array of historic masterpieces that might have doubled or tripled the value of their haul?

"Most of all, where are those 11 irreplaceable paintings, drawings and etchings today, and why hasn't a single one surfaced in nearly two decades?"

He said one of the most bizarre aspects of the theft is why Titian's The Rape Of Europa, which was hanging nearby and is worth £150million, was not taken.

Pistone spent six years undercover with the New York mafia, assuming the identity of jewel thief Donnie Brasco. He was played by Johnny Depp in the film of the same name.

He and McShane, who also assumed various identities to crack cases, are prepared to go undercover again to find the missing artworks.

There have been several theories about the robbery and suspicion has fallen on both the IRA and the UVF.

Last April, McShane, author of Loot: Inside The World Of Stolen Art, told the Record that the gang behind the theft of a £30million masterpiece from a Scottish castle would never cash in on it.

Six months later, The Madonna And The Yarnwinder was recovered in a Glasgow lawyer's office.

Five men have been arrested in connection with the theft of the painting from Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire, in 2003.

Art Hostage comments:

Whilst trying not to dampen the enthusiasm of these two giants in Law Enforcement circles, it has to be understood that those who control the Vermeer and co are not adverse to being stung.

Knowing who has control of the stolen Gardner art is not that difficult, getting them to return the art is the hard part.

Upon another note and worth noting, because the pursuit of the Gardner art has attracted many Underworld figures, if the art is returned, then those who claim the reward will be pursued by the Underworld for their cut.

So, it is fear of reprisals from the Underworld that could be preventing the Gardner art from surfacing.

Then do the deal out of sight I hear you ask.

Problem with that is the sting attempts out of the spotlight, hence why the Catholic church confession box and the reward claim by the Catholic priest publicly is the best option.

However, there still remains the problem for the reward claimant being hounded by the Underworld for their share of the reward under duress.

So, bottom line is, yes law enforcement will sting those with the Gardner art if they get a chance, it is their job after all.

The Underworld has been looking to get in on the act of the Gardner art and has issued demands to the handlers that have prevented the Gardner art from surfacing.

A classic Catch 22, whereby the Gardner art handlers are dammed if they hand back the art, from the underworld, and dammed from the wider public world if they don't hand back the Gardner art.

Art Hostage has been told that those with the Vermeer are more concerned if they hand back the Vermeer via a confession box, the underworld will demand payment, than any refusal of payment to them via the Catholic priest.

The Vermeer handlers have said the situation could arise whereby the Vermeer is handed back, Confession box, Priest claim, then a delay in reward payment will be met by the underworld with the words:

"Not paid for the Vermeer, Fuck you pay me !!"

So, the Vermeer handlers will be left without the Vermeer and an underworld debt !!

Best of luck Tom and Joe, remember the guys you will be dealing with will torture you if they suspect and then chop you up before going out for a Calzone !!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Art Worlds Barak Obama, Anthony Amore, Brings Hope and Change to Gardner Heist Investigation !!

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s passionate new security chief, who brought federal screening to Logan International Airport after 9/11, says the theft of precious artworks from the museum 18 years ago Tuesday is a form of “cultural terrorism” that must be resolved for posterity’s sake.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Herald, Anthony M. Amore, 41, said he hopes the museum’s $5 million reward - one of the largest bounties ever offered - will tempt a global audience of tipsters and armchair sleuths to examine the crime and pass new information on to him, “no matter how seemingly insignificant.”

“First and foremost, it’s important people know that the reward is real, that the museum is eager to pay this reward,” he said. “The trustees are serious about this.”

“Second, I know one thing: I am not going to be able to recover these paintings on my own, in a vacuum, sitting here in an office. I need the collective intelligence of people from around the world.”

Amore was brought in by the Gardner two years ago to update and reinforce its security. The issue is a constant priority for the museum, which must remain inviting to the general public while preventing any repeat of the March 18, 1990, robbery that took place soon after 1 a.m., in the groggy aftermath of St. Patrick’s Day.

Amore said he is eager to deploy a “crowdsourcing” approach to the crime, and use the Internet to distribute information and haul in data. He is up at all hours on the case and sees the recovery effort now as a second full-time job.

He said guaranteeing anonymity for tipsters is foremost in his mind. But he would like to see colleges, private companies and individuals with expertise in any art-related field serve as his eyes and ears in the four corners of the world.

He has created a computerized database for past and future leads, and receives many e-mails a day through the Gardner’s theft-related site. (The e-mail address is

“When people send me e-mails I’m not interested in trying to track that person back, I’m interested in following the lead,” he said. “I compile all this on a computer. All these tips are projected against the total picture that I have in my database and in my memory.

“After you’ve studied this hard enough, you can do this mind-mapping thing where you do it in your head instantaneously. I can rule out and rule in much more swiftly and usefully that way.”

Amore described a recent tip involving one of the stolen items, a Degas watercolor called “La Sortie de Pesage,” showing some mounted jockeys from the rear.

A British family had acquired a quality reproduction of the Degas, and its new owner wondered if he had purchased the real thing. He called Amore, who contacted the museum’s curator and others.

“We were able to gain the aid of museum experts in Britain who went to the home, with permission, and examined the piece,” he said. “Unfortunately it was not our print. But it shows how you can use global networking to get to the bottom of these kinds of leads.”

Amore admits to a near-obsession with the case, and displays an almost photographic recall of details he has absorbed from investigative files in well-worn cabinets.

Amore has taken art classes and studied the history of each stolen item. He retraces the steps the thieves took through the museum and reviews the archives every few months, always gleaning “something fresh” from the effort.

The story of the crime is the stuff of Boston lore. Two white males dressed in police uniforms, and identifying themselves as Boston officers, gained entry to the legendary Fenway institution by telling the two inexperienced night watchmen there they were responding to a call about a disturbance within the compound

The thieves quickly subdued the guards, using duct tape and handcuffs to lock them away in separate, remote areas of the museum’s basement. The guards never had time to activate a panic button under their watch desk, and video surveillance film was seized by the interlopers before they took off.

While in the museum from 1:24 a.m. to 2:45 a.m., the thieves seized 13 items valued at $300 million.

They include Rembrandt’s only known seascape, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”; “The Concert,” one of only 34 known Vermeers in the world; a series of drawings by Edgar Degas; works by Manet, Rembrandt and Flinck; and two objects, a finial from a Napoleonic flag and a Chinese Ku, or beaker

Though one thief told one of the guards “they’ll be hearing from us” on his way out, no convincing evidence of the art’s whereabouts has been reported since. Suspects have emerged and disappeared or died, clues have come and gone, trails have been pursued, and still the 13 items remain in bedeviling limbo.

“People from the press, the general public, even the criminal world - they have all said to me: ‘It’s time these paintings are back in their place, back in their frames, back where they belong,’ ” he said.

“It’s been a story out of a Hollywood movie long enough. There is a growing sense that we must bring this to fruition

Comments (11)
please spare us the 'terrorism' analogies. unless the thieves actually destroy the original and every copy of the original existing anywhere in the world, then posterity isn't losing anything. #206572 - Mar 16, 2008 12:11 AM EDT Report Abuse

Like closing the door after the cat got out #206617 - Mar 16, 2008 1:59 AM EDT Report Abuse

As a different approach, maybe they should keep an eye on the rich people who show up for the blockbuster auctions for Van Gogh, Picasso, etc. , paying most attention to those who fly in to catch the event. Money is probably not an issue for the present owner(s), so it wouldn't be surprising if they spend a lot of time checking out legit stuff too. Notice, I did not say "Dubai". #206918 - Mar 16, 2008 11:30 AM EDT Report Abuse

I have had the honor of working for Mr. Amore at Logan airport post 9/11 and can tell you from personal experience that he is definitely the right man for the job and will bring the same level of dedication, professionalism and experience as he did as a top official with Homeland Security at Logan. #207070 - Mar 16, 2008 2:39 PM EDT Report Abuse

ss is illiterate
unless the thieves actually destroy the original and every copy of the original existing anywhere in the world,then posterity isn't losing anything??? How about spare us your faux elitist bs and write a constructed sentence. Posterity means the offspring of direct line ancestry, or originator, not whatever that hell it is that you were trying to say. idiot. #207091 - Mar 16, 2008 3:26 PM EDT Report Abuse

Art Hostage
Anthony Amore is a stand up guy, straight as a gun barrel, who will walk through fire over broken glass to recover the stolen Gardner art. Elitism exists because the public has limited access to the world finest artworks. The loss of the iconic Gardner art in many ways divides society further. #207143 - Mar 16, 2008 5:34 PM EDT Report Abuse

Anthony is definetly a stand up kind of a person,and how I know this ,is because I am his mom,who is so proud of him,he works so hard at what he does and is a very dedicated person.If their is anyone that can find out what happened to those paintings it is him for sure. #207231 - Mar 16, 2008 8:19 PM EDT Report Abuse

Art Hostage
O'h well thats it, now we've got Anthony's mum involved god help those who withhold the Gardner art. Anthony, a new line for you; "Stop, or my mum will shoot" Mrs Amore, Belle Gardner would be proud of your intercession, it's priceless and the best thing I have heard in ages, made my week !! #207711 - Mar 17, 2008 12:25 PM EDT Report Abuse

Art Hostage
Appologies, I of course mean Anthony's Mom, and "Stop, or my Mom will shoot" #207960 - Mar 17, 2008 3:59 PM EDT Report Abuse

If anyone can, Anthony will solve this. #210330 - Mar 19, 2008 10:19 AM EDT Report Abuse

big guy
Myles Conner #213617 - Mar 21, 2008 7:46 AM EDT Report Abuse

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Whe...n there's... Warmth in our Heart's, Coz he's Recovered the Gardner Art..., That's Amore !!

The Gardner Museum’s new security chief knows the value of shoe leather in solving crimes.

As assistant federal security director for screening at Logan International Airport after 9/11, he ran the show when shoe bomber Richard Reid was collared in December 2001.

“I’ll never forget that day,” said Anthony M. Amore, the museum’s top art sleuth. “I was sitting down to watch the Patriots [team stats] play the Dolphins - it was a big game at the time - and I got a call saying some lunatic was trying to light a shoelace on fire on an airplane.

“I thought it was going to be a 20-minute trip to the airport and it turns out I was there for the next 20-plus hours, ending with the arrest of Richard Reid and being on the line with the White House situation room.

“It gave me a great sense of not approaching any kind of incident in a lackadaisical fashion. It’s the mindset I bring to this job at the museum.”

A 41-year-old Rhode Island native, Amore moved to Massachusetts in 1995 and lives in Swampscott. He has two children.

His resume reads like he should be a candidate for Homeland Security director. Stints in crucial security jobs at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Transportation Security Administration and, before arriving at the Gardner, the post of assistant federal security director for screening at Logan just after 9/11.

There he oversaw the urgent implementation of federalized baggage screening for the airport after it was rocked by the terrorist attacks on New York that started with hijackings of two American Airlines [AMR] planes from Logan.

The work was grinding, he said, but the motivation to make Logan safe was fierce across the entire workforce there, and he found the effort inspiring and rewarding.

Still, after more than four years of nervewracking airport security work he wanted a change, and he sought out the Gardner job, which he took in March 2006.

“I felt our mission was complete at Logan,” he said. “I needed a change. And when I was interviewed here it was not in an office but near this beautiful courtyard.

“I always knew about the Gardner, knew about the theft, and knew it was an amazing place. So after 14 years in an airport environment, to see this breathtaking place that still takes your breath every time you look at it, I knew this is where I might want to go for a change of pace.”

A modest, easygoing man who persistently insists he counts on teamwork and the brainpower of “smarter people” to solve problems, Amore set about resecuring the museum. But he couldn’t resist immersing himself in the crime that rocked the Gardner in 1990.

“I didn’t anticipate I’d be drawn into the theft investigation as much as I am,” he said. “Securing the museum, the property, the visitors is definitely ‘Job 1’ and always will be, but the case is like a second job to me now.”

Amore has a strong rapport with the FBI agents on the case, and says the Feds and the Gardner are on the same page when it comes to making recovery of the art a priority. He has forged stong ties with his bureau counterparts, particularly Special Agent Geoffrey J. Kelly. But he knows too that he must work alone sometimes because many tipsters want to avoid official government entanglements.

“I am certain of their dedication to seeing the paintings returned to their rightful place,” he said of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. “They have all shown and extraordinary willingness to help us recover our artwork.”

Amore has a master’s in public administration from Harvard’s JFK School of Government. He was nominated in 2002 and 2003 he was nominated for the Service to American Award.

Amore has absorbed much about art in the past two years, much as he learned everything possible about airport security while working at Logan.

“It’s not lost on me that I had worked at the airport from which the worst terrorist attack against the U.S. was launched, and I now work at the museum at which the largest property theft and art theft in history was committed,” he said.

Contact Amore by e-mail at or by phone at 617-278-5114.

Art Hostage comments:

With Matinee idol looks, somewhere between Andy Garcia and Anthony LaPaglia, the Gardner Museum's very own Anthony Amore strides across the art loss world like a colossus.

His quiet demeanor allows him access to the most sensitive material regarding the Gardner art Heist and his pragmatism is just the thing that will see Anthony Amore at the centre of the Gardner art recovery.

Anthony Amore, is a man who walks through fire over broken glass to recover the elusive Gardner art, that's the official Art Hostage opinion, why ??

I dare you not to smile and feel warm inside when you click the link below:

Stolen Art Watch, Bold Boston Herald to the Rescue in Gardner Art Pursuit, Hopefully !!

Help $olve the heist of the

Starting today, the Herald is launching a Web site dedicated to compiling information about the March 18, 1990, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

The site will be updated regularly and include background information and leads that readers the world over can examine.

Anyone with knowledge of the crime, tips about the whereabouts of the art and thoughts on solving the mystery can post their information on comment boards or send an e-mail to a secure address.

There also will be links to the museum’s theft site and confidential e-mail address,, and other sites of interest.

New Today: Hear Gardner Security Chief Anthony Amore discuss the crime, the reward and his openness to leads, tips and suggestions from a global audience of possible mystery solvers. And meet one of the suspects.

Send tips to or post them online at the Web site.

Art Hostage comments:

Things can only get better, now I've found You (Boston Herald)

Click the link below and pump up the volume:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Bernard Berenson Joins Gardner Art Pursuit !!

Art Hostage would like to extend a warm welcome to a new blog called Gardner Theft, run by a blogger calling themselves Bernard Berenson, after the man who furnished Mrs Isabella Stewart Gardner with many of her prized artworks.

Well worth a visit, You can catch the blog here:

Must say I like the layout and wish Bernard Berenson all the very best in helping to recover the stolen Gardner art, especially the Vermeer, my favourite.

Come to think about it, what is Bernard Berenson's favourite amongst the elusive stolen Gardner art ?

Ten days to go before another anniversary, another year without the most iconic stolen artwork, Vermeer's "The Concert" being available for the public to view.

Wonder what's in store, news from the Grand Jury perhaps, or the usual rhetoric re-hashing the same old lines.

However, a little insider tells Art Hostage that some good news lurks on the horizon, hopefully something around the 17-18 March 08 perhaps.

I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime visit Bernard Berenson below, seems to be updated all the time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Diamond Necklace stolen, $30 million Van Gogh Next ???????

Thieves steal diamond necklace worth US$1.8 million at Dutch arts fair

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Thieves have stolen a diamond necklace worth an estimated US$1.8 million at an arts fair in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht, police said Friday.

Two women from Mexico and a man from Costa Rica suspected of involvement have been arrested, police spokeswoman Renske Hamming said, but the necklace has not been recovered.

Police said the theft was on Thursday afternoon. The vendor selling the necklace noticed it was missing shortly after having a conversation with the two women, but when she ran after them, the man from Costa Rica "who was apparently together with the women blocked her," a police statement said.

All three were arrested before leaving the grounds of the TEFAF fair, but the necklace had vanished.

Hamming said police could not comment further on the ongoing investigation, but did not rule out further arrests.

The necklace was made in 1948 by American jeweller William Ruser.

Representatives of TEFAF, which bills itself as "the world's leading art and antiques fair," could not immediately be reached for comment.

The fair, which runs through March 16, also features a Van Gogh painting, the 1880 "Child With Orange," valued at $30 million.

Art Hostage comments:

Give one woman bail, let her recover the necklace, otherwise her companions get 30 years, that should give the thieves something to think about.

Oh, thanks for the tip about the $30 million Van Gogh being on show until March 16th.

A Balkan Bandit gang are on their way to Maastricht (as I write) to steal the Van Gogh as it is transported at the end of the show.

Sometimes it's better to keep quiet about the offerings at high value art and antiques fairs !!

Stolen Art Watch, Femme Fatale Fights For Stolen Pissarro !!

A French museum hopes to get back a painting by Impressionist painter Pissarro.

The work was stolen in 1981, but has now been found in New York.

Andre Liatard, curator of the Faure museum in the Alpine town of Aix-les-Bains, says he will travel to New York later this month to take part in legal proceedings to wrest the stolen work from its current owner.

The painting is in the care of Sharyl Davis, who says she bought the work titled Le Marche Aux Poissons (The Fish Market) in good faith and now wants to be compensated if it is returned to France. (Ooh, she would say that, greed, greeeed, it's a deadly sin you know !!)

According to investigators who traced how the painting ended up in the United States, Ms Davis bought the work from a US dealer for $US8,500 ($9,100),

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) was seen as a major influence on French painters Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin.

See also, below

USA – APA. Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro’s oil painting work “Le Marche Aux Poissons” (“The Fish Market”) stolen in 1981 Faure museum in Aix-les-Bains has been found in New York.

Quoting France Press APA reports, Pissaro’s work was stolen together with the Auguste Renoir’s “Woman Portrait”.

Investigation clarified that well-known art thief Emil Gelton stole them. The fate of both paintings has been remained unknown for 22 years.

In 2003 Sotheby’s expert called to the Aix-les-Bains museum and told about probable place of Pissaro’s “The Fish market”.

French museum demanded US law-enforcement bodies to investigate this issue. The work place was determined and later it was detained in the New York custom house.

Legal proceedings on the stolen art will be started on March 16. Sharyl Davis, who says she bought “The Fish Market” from a US dealer, will also be testified.

The work will be given back to the museum, if the court receives complaints of French side. According to some sources, Renoir’s stolen work is in one of the Japanese collections, but this information has not been confirmed yet.

Art Hostage comments:

First of all, when did Msssssss Davis buy the Pissarro ??

Ms Davis spins the usual line that she bought the Pissarro in good faith.

However, was the price she paid a fair market price ?

$8,500 seems very little for an original Pissarro, even back in the 80's and if this was not a true reflection of its value then Ms Davis is guilty of not showing due diligence when purchasing fine art.

I do enjoy the way the person caught with stolen art always starts off by saying they want the stolen art to go back to its rightful owners, then the kicker, "but I would like to be rewarded"

Another case of being caught with your hands in the Cookie jar and trying to fabricate a false story to justify their possession of the said stolen artwork.

What is the difference between this Femme fatale and the New York man who had possession of the Warhol Dollar painting, I'll tell you, nothing, they are cut from the same dishonest cloth, but Ms Davis hides behind a false cloak of respectability.

Back story on Warhol claimant, below:

Could this be the first Female Dr No to raise their head above the parapet ??
More to come................ Gluttony and Greed go together

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Swiss Degas Recovered, Cezanne Alone in the Underworld !!

Sunday breaking news
Art Hostage has learnt that the Degas stolen in Switzerland has been, or is about to be recovered.

That leaves just the Cezanne outstanding.

Don't mention the Serbian connection, Dane-Geld has been paid !!

Stolen Art Watch, Dane-Geld Turns Sinister if You Look Too Closely !!

Museum fire cause under investigation

Director Jeremy Hubbard was both upset and relieved today when he inspected
the scene of an overnight fire at Auckland's Museum of Transport and
Technology (Motat).

The blaze, which began about 10.20pm and was brought under control by
firefighters about an hour later, destroyed a train carriage that was more
than 100 years old.

However, a report that a hangar had also been lost proved to be incorrect,
with Mr Hubbard saying no buildings were damaged.

"It's an absolute tragedy that this irreplaceable museum artifact has been
destroyed," he said.

"But we're very fortunate the fire was contained to a relatively small

Mr Hubbard said the incident reinforced the need for Motat to receive the
level of funding needed to take proper care of its collection.

Most of the museum's funding came from the seven city and district councils
in the greater Auckland area and negotiations over next year's draft budget
had involved "vigorous debate".

Mr Hubbard said one of the issues for Motat was appropriate storage for
items not on display, such as the carriage that was destroyed.

He said the fire, which covered an area of about 10m by 3m, was not in a
public area and the museum would open for business as usual today.

Motat covers 16 hectares and is noted for having one of Australasia's most
impressive displays of aircraft.

Police are investigating the possibility of arson, after nearby residents
were reported to have heard voices of people talking about burning things

A Fire Service spokesman said the cause of the fire had not yet been
established and a fire safety officer was expected back on site today.

Art Hostage comments:

When I read this article a shiver went down my spine, why ?

Well, after the debarcle surrounding the recovery of the stolen Medals and subsequent Police investigation, that looks like charges may follow, it occurred to me that those responsible for the medal recovery may be sending a sinister message to authorities by threatening to burn down a museum rather than stealing from it if authorities continue to investigate the medal recovery.

If this proves to be the case then authorities can only blame themselves for offering Dane-Geld in the first place, see back-story linked below:

Stolen Art Watch, Rookwood That's No-Good !!

Hilliard auction house offers reward for stolen pottery



Thieves hijacked a load of American pottery from a Hilliard business this week by hitching a pickup to a white cargo trailer and driving off with it, the auction company said tonight.

Belhorn Auction Services at 4114 Anson Dr., near Lyman Drive and Cemetery Road, has surveillance photos of a white Ford-150 truck, taken as it drove off with the stolen artwork at 9:40 p.m. Monday, owner Greg Belhorn said. Police found two locks on the lot broken off the trailer and its hitch, he said.

The theft occurred about 9:40 p.m. Monday.

The unmarked, American Hauler trailer, also white, contained about $40,000 worth of pottery being catalogued for auction at the American Art Pottery Association convention in April near Philadelphia.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for the recovery of the stolen property or the arrest of those responsible, Belhorn said. Photos of some of the 175 missing pieces of art and the truck can be viewed online at

Belhorn said that to many, the vases, pottery and ceramic items would appear mundane. The stolen items included such things as Van Briggle vases and pitchers; a Rookwood Vellum vase from 1918; and a Weller jardinière. Some of the items also are reproductions, used for educational purposes by the association.

Belhorn thinks the thieves have realized by now they don't want what they stole and might be willing to return it.

"I suspect they were looking for tools, lawn mowers or something along those lines. To them, this is probably worthless cargo. On the antiques market, the value is between $30,000 and $40,000," Belhorn said.

Anyone with information should contact Hilliard police at (614) 876-7321 or Belhorn at (614) 921-9441.

Art Hostage comments:

I feel a sting coming on !!

Recovering these items will be like taking candy from a Baby if the thieves think they can realise on their ill-gotten gains.