Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

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

1 comment:

LM aka LR said...

"Action is the foundational key to success." - Pablo Picasso. Mr. Amore is all about action. I have known him for a long time and when he has a goal in mind, stand to make, job to do; it is done. He is not single minded, yet he is dedicated. He will do what needs to be done to retain these prescious pieces of history, no matter the cost. He also has people who stand behind him, knowing the man he was and the man he is today.