Gardner Museum Theft Investigation

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By: - Apr 03, 2013

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What Happened?

They gained entry into the Museum by posing as Boston police officers and stating that they were responding to a call. The guard on duty broke protocol and allowed them entry through the Museum’s security door. Once inside, the thieves asked that the guard come around from behind the desk, claiming that they recognized him and that there was a warrant out for his arrest. The guard walked away from the desk and away from the only alarm button. The guard was told to summon the other guard on duty to the security desk, which he did. The thieves then handcuffed both guards and took them into the basement where they were secured to pipes and their hands, feet, and heads duct taped. The two guards were placed 40 yards away from each other in the basement. The next morning, the security guard arriving to relieve the two night guards discovered that the Museum had been robbed and notified the police and director Anne Hawley.

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The Stolen Artworks

The stolen works include: Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633), A Lady and Gentleman in Black (1633) and a Self Portrait (1634), an etching on paper; Vermeer’s The Concert (1658–1660); and Govaert Flinck’s Landscape with an Obelisk (1638); and a Chinese vase or Ku, all taken from the Dutch Room on the second floor. Also stolen from the second floor were five works on paper by the Impressionist artist Edgar Degas and a finial from the top of a pole support for a Napoleonic silk flag, both from the Short Gallery. Edouard Manet’s Chez Tortoni (1878–1880) was taken from the Blue Room on the first floor. See the image sheet for additional information.

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Reward and Conservation

The Gardner Museum continues to actively investigate any and all leads related to the theft. This ongoing investigation is conducted by the Museum’s director of security in cooperation with the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office. The focus of the investigation today is on the return of the artworks. The Museum continues to issue the call to the holders of the works to conserve them in recommended temperatures and humidity levels. The Gardner Museum is offering a reward of $5 million for information leading to the recovery of these works in good condition and, with the FBI and US Attorney, can ensure complete confidentiality.

Learn more about the theft and reward on the FBI's web site.

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