The beautiful inner courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

It was arguably one of the most famous art heists in history: In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and left with 13 works of art valued at more than $500 million. To further the recovery effort, the museum’s board of trustees has just made an announcement.

Members of the board of trustees at Boston’s famed Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum recently announced their approval to double the reward from $5 million to $10 million for information leading to the return of 13 works of art stolen from the institution in 1990. The increased offer is effective immediately and expires at midnight on December 31, 2017.

The reward increase is, in fact, the second since the theft in 1990. In 1997, the museum raised the reward from $1 million to $5 million, making it the largest private reward in the world. The recent increase to $10 million “sends a strong message that Museum officials are serious about their commitment to bring the works back to the Museum,” according to the Gardner’s website.

Rembrandt van Rijn, “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” 1633, oil on canvas, 63 x 50 1/2 inches, © Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Johannes Vermeer, “The Concert,” 1664, oil on canvas, 27 x 25 inches, © Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Anthony Amore, the museum’s security director, adds, “We encourage anyone with information to contact the museum directly, and we guarantee complete confidentiality. 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.”

The March 18, 1990 theft remains the largest art heist in history. Among the artworks that were taken were Johannes Vermeer’s “The Concert” — one of only 36 surviving paintings by the Dutch painter — and the only known seascape by Rembrandt van Rijn, titled “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”

“Typically, stolen masterpieces are either recovered soon after a theft or a generation later,” Amore continued. “We remain optimistic that these works will ultimately be recovered.”

Anyone with information should contact Anthony Amore at 617.278.5114 or e-mail [email protected]

To learn more, visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.


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