Monday, May 24

Art Theft On My Mind

After reading about the recent theft in France, I immediately thought of one of the most famous art thefts in history; the robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in March of 1990. There are many reasons that this was a fascinating robbery, as well as a fascinating collection. Mostly though, I'm interested in the woman who created the museum, her name adorns the building and her curatorial skills laid out the location of every work of art there. The emptied frames still hang where she originally placed them, waiting for the return of the stolen works. Her first major purchase was also one of the paintings taken during the robbery of her museum, Vermeer's The Concert purchased for $6000; it is now estimated to be worth $200,000,000. Not only an art collector, Isabella Gardner also loved the Red Sox, boxing, football, hockey, and horse races. I like to imagine her kicking back with a beer in hand, but that's just my imagination.

This was a woman who once told a friend, "You know, or rather, you don't know, that I adore Giotto,and really don't adore Rembrandt. I only like him." She was a collector of art she enjoyed, though she did own some Rembrants that have since been stolen. She is credited with bringing a new kind of collecting to the states; her Venetian style mansion was one of the first places American artists could see European master works without traveling abroad.

As for the theft in 1990, I have one thing to say about it that I don't find tragic...fake mustaches. Here's the description of one of the thieves from the FBI web site:

Race: White
Sex: Male
Age: Late 20's to mid 30's
Height: 5'7" to 5'10"
Weight: Unknown
Build: Medium
Eyes: Dark
Hair: Black, short cropped
Complexion: Fair to medium
Facial Structure: Narrow
Facial Hair: Wearing a dark, shiny mustache, appearing to be false
Glasses: Wearing square-shaped, gold framed glasses
Clothing: Fully ornamented dark blue police uniform and hat, and dark shoes, with patch on left shoulder, possibly with wording "Boston Police."
Equipment: Carrying a square black radio (with 5" to 6" antenna) on belt
Accent: Possibly Boston



Anonymous said...

Great reading!
Good to see Idyllwildlife on the blogs.

Anonymous said...

So all we need is a shiny mustache and we are good to go!