A lawyer's commentary on cultural property law, antiquities trafficking, art crime and cultural heritage crimes, legal issues in museum administration, and museum risk management. In association with Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Public Policy Research, Inc. since November 2014.
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Who went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum the
night before the notorious theft of over a dozen artworks?
Carmen Ortiz, United States Attorney for the District of
Massachusetts, and the FBI released a video last week seeking an answer to this
question. “With the public’s help, we may be able to develop new information
that could lead to the recovery of these invaluable works of art,” Ortiz announced.
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Twenty-five years ago, thieves in Boston stole Vermeer’s The
Concert and Rembrandt’s The
Storm on the Sea of Galilee among several other pieces. The case remains unsolved a
quarter century later.
The poor quality security tape (displayed below) shows a car parked at the rear entrance of the museum. The
FBI says that “[t]he car matches the general description of a vehicle that was
reported to have been parked outside the Museum moments prior to the theft on
March 18, 1990.”
According to agency officials, “The video also shows an unidentified man exiting the
automobile and then being allowed inside the Museum, against Museum policy, by
a security guard. That event occurred at 12:49 p.m. on March 17, 1990, almost
exactly 24 hours before the thieves entered the museum through the same door.”
Anyone who has information about the theft or the
events captured on the security video should call the FBI at 617-742-5533 or the
Isabella Gardner Museum at 617-278-5114.