Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Case, One Narrative, One Offer, Only Informants Wanted

Amore to speak about Gardner Museum heist in Hingham

How the theft was carried out and where the painting might possibly be at this moment will be a few of the topics covered when Anthony Amore visits the Hingham Community Center on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.
The world-acclaimed Gardner Museum in Boston is unique. With most world-class art museums people flock to stare at historic paintings by master artists. But at the Gardner Museum a good number of ticket-buyers come to stare at empty frames... and a slice of New England folklore.
In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as police officers entered the Gardner Museum and stole 13 works of art by world-renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet, and Degas. The works, including Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and Vermeer’s The Concert, are worth more than $500 million. This remains the biggest unsolved art theft in world history.
The Museum is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen works. It’s important to note the reward is for recovering the paintings, not the apprehension of the thieves. This is also the priority of Anthony Amore, Security Director for the Gardner Museum.
“Speaking for the museum, we just want our paintings back,” Amore said in a recent interview with Boston magazine. “I would work as hard as can you can imagine to make sure that the people who come forward, that their names are never exposed. We have methods to do that, to pay the reward, so the person who gets it isn’t named publicly.”
How the theft was carried out and where the painting might possibly be at this moment will be a few of the topics covered when Anthony Amore visits the Hingham Community Center on Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Twenty-eight years after the artwork was stolen, the museum’s security chief thinks he knows who did it. What has him stumped is where the paintings are now. “The idea of a professional art thief, a cat burglar who goes and steals masterpieces, is fiction,” said Amore. “It has nothing to do with people who want art for their collection. It’s people stealing these things for money.”
In 2011, Amore spun off his historic art-crime research into his book Stealing Rembrandts, co-authored with journalist Tom Mashberg. Hardly any thieves who steal a masterpiece ever do it again, Amore says, because they quickly discover they’re stuck with it. “If you steal hugely recognizable art, you can’t fence it,” Amore says. “One small piece of information could end this tomorrow.”
Despite some promising leads in the past, the Gardner theft of 1990 remains unsolved. The Museum, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s office are still seeking viable leads that could result in safe return of the art. Any little bit of information can help. “I’m not looking for someone necessarily to call me and say, ‘Go to Locker 3 in this storage facility,’” Amore said in his interview. “It’s like you put this puzzle together, you start with the borders, and people are giving you pieces.
“If you do puzzles, most of the time, there’s this one piece that’s just like, now it’s all falling together,” he adds. “So I’m not necessarily looking for the big aha! moment. I’m looking for the small aha!moments that I can piece together.”
Tickets to hear Anthony Amore speak at the Hingham Community Center are now on sale at $10 and are available online at www.hinghamcommunitycenter.org, by phone at 781-749-9786, and at the Hingham Community Center at 70 South Street in Hingham.

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