Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist , Art Hostage Plan Takes Off


Gardner Museum Doubles Reward For Stolen Art To $10M

Nearing 30 years after the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist, the search is still on for the missing masterpieces — and now, the reward has been doubled.
The museum's Board of Trustees announced Tuesday that it is doubling the from $5 million to $10 million for information leading to the return of the 13 stolen artworks.
The announcement came a day after the feds arrested a West Virginia man who had offered to sell some of the paintings on Craigslist. He was bluffing about having the paintings and is now charged with wire fraud.
But the new reward comes with an expiration date. The increased offer is only available until midnight on Dec. 31, 2017.
“These works of art were purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner for the ‘education and enjoyment of the public forever,’" said Steve Kidder, president of the Gardner Museum’s Board, in a statement. “It is our fervent hope that by increasing the reward, our resolve is clear that we want the safe return of the works to their rightful place and back in public view.”
This isn't the first time that the reward has been raised in hopes of recovering the valuable works. The paintings were stolen on March 18, 1990  in what is the largest property crime in U.S. history.
In 1997, the museum increased the reward money from $1 million to $5, making it the largest private reward in the world, according to the museum.
"Twenty years later, the announcement of a $10 million reward sends a strong message that museum officials are serious about their commitment to bring the works back," the museum said in a statement.
The doubling of the reward was under discussion for a year and approved by the museum's board on Tuesday.
The stolen artworks include works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Manet and Degas. The 13 missing pieces are worth an estimated $500 million. The Concert is only one of 36 total paintings by Vermeer and The Storm on the Sea of Galilee marks Rembrandt's only seascape, according to the museum, and both are among "the most valuable stolen objects in the world."
Museum officials are looking to hear from anyone with information about the paintings' whereabouts.
“We encourage anyone with information to contact the Museum directly, and we guarantee complete confidentiality,” said Anthony Amore, the museum’s security director, in a statement. “This offer is a sign that our investigation remains active. Our hope is that anyone with knowledge that might further our work will come forward.”
Though it's been 27 years since the artworks were stolen, museum officials remain hopeful.
“Typically stolen masterpieces are either recovered soon after a theft or a generation later,” Amore said. “We remain optimistic that these works will ultimately be recovered.”
Anyone with information can contact Amore at (617) 278-5114 or by emailing theft@gardnermuseum.org.
BOSTON (CBS) – The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has announced that it is doubling its reward for information leading to the return of 13 works of art that were stolen in 1990.
The museum’s Board of Trustees announced Tuesday that it has increased the reward from $5 million to $10 million. The reward is “available immediately” but expires at midnight on December 31, 2017.
“We encourage anyone with information to contact the Museum directly, and we guarantee complete confidentiality,” said Anthony Amore, the Museum’s Security Director. “This offer is a sign that our investigation remains active. Our hope is that anyone with knowledge that might further our work will come forward.”

“We encourage anyone with information to contact the Museum directly, and we guarantee complete confidentiality,” said Anthony Amore, the Museum’s Security Director. “This offer is a sign that our investigation remains active. Our hope is that anyone with knowledge that might further our work will come forward.”
gardner1 Gardner Museum Doubles Reward For Stolen Art To $10M
Empty frame at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (CBS)
On March 18, 1990, two men disguised as police officers tied up the security guards and stole 13 pieces of art, including rare paintings by Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer from the museum in Boston.
 In 1997, the museum increased its reward from $1 million to $5 million. The new $10 million reward is available immediately but expires at midnight on Dec. 31.
The combined value of the art is estimate at $500 million. It remains the largest art heist in history.

Art Hostage Comments:
Art Hostage has been calling for this for over a decade as it might temp those who have the ability to hand back the Gardner art.
However, there are further things that need to be offered to reassure those who might consider stepping forward.
The conditions of any returned Gardner art being in so called "Good Condition" is a block as condition will likely play a big part. A complete tarrif should be published with a reward amount for each stolen Gardner artwork.
The so called immunity offered by the Boston DA  needs to be made public and what exact conditions would be applied.
The distinct lack of specifics prevents progress.
The ability of anyone stepping forward to walk away if they feel they cannot get legal assurances is the biggest factor in no-one stepping forward.
Finally, there are things going on behind the scenes and as ever, hope springs eternal that some Gardner art might be recovered.
Odds are a minor work such as a Degas drawing would be offered as a test case, then if successful, followed by Rembrandts Storm on the Sea.
Any hand back of Gardner art should be done by way of a location given, Catholic Church confession box being the Art Hostage location of choice, then no-one needs to be arrested at the recovery.

3 comments:

Smitty Sontag said...

Would love to see this solved.

DXer/Ross said...

"Hi Mr. Berghman!

The Madison clerk gave me your name a number of years ago when I went to Madison on a Nancy Drew-like vacation over the Isabella Gardner mystery.

It’s my understanding that you are entitled to the reward for the Isabella Gardner paintings, along with Elene and Jeanine.

If the Boston counsel who represented you in 2005 submitted a paint chip, and FBI forensics showed that it was not from the painting, I am thinking that it was just from a different painting from the group taken that night.

If Arnold Hiatt, the Board Member, did not tell Tony Amore, when he started the job, that’s really messed up -- as I had given Tony your name at the time I visited Madison and he would have been able to more closely consider the forensics on the chip.

(At the time of my visit to Maine, Tony had asked me to cut my vacation short because he said I was making Elene nervous; p.s. I’m told Elene really admires you!).

With the doubling of the reward, even under the museum’s proposed pro rated approach, it seems that there are a whole lot of nice cars and college funds that would result.

I left a note for Ashley a couple years ago but didn’t hear back. (The Chinese restaurant was the first Chinese restaurant I ever went to — dating to 1976.)

Best of luck in what has to be one of the craziest true crime mysteries of all time. Mr. Kurkjian deserves a second Pulitzer it seems, and Jeanine and Elene and you — given that everyone agrees you were not involved in the heist — appear to deserve the reward.

If you are no longer represented by counsel, I would be glad to tell Tony you are a nice guy and help you get the paintings back to the museum — no fee, no representation. ... Just in the interests of the public interest in having the paintings restored (to the extent some of them are salvageable). (Personally, art doesn't do anything for me -- a nice reproduction is just as good. The museum should have had insurance if it valued the paintings so highly.)

If you are up in Herkimer rather than Stuart, I will be in town for my high school 40th reunion in July and we could do it then. Otherwise, I could come to Florida on June 16th to meet to resolve any concerns."

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