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Art Theft

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Twenty-seven years after two thieves disguised as police officers talked their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tied up the guards and fled with masterpieces worth an estimated $500 milion, it remains the world’s largest art heist and one of Boston’s most baffling mysteries.

For 81 minutes during the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, the thieves pulled and slashed treasured works from their frames. They stole 13 pieces, including three Rembrandts, among them his only seascape, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”; Vermeer’s “The Concert”; and works by Flinck, Manet and Degas.

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Forgotten in the hubub of the Gardner Heist, is what these paintings actallly look like. Decades later we appear no closer to the recovery of these lost masterpieces, and before amnesia sets in (omerta achieved) and we truly forget what was taken, aside from dollar value cited, these are the works. With the advent of the internet, finally, higher definition photos courtesy of the F.B.I. have arrived.

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01Vermeer The concertJohannes Vermeer (1632-1675), The Concert, painted circa 1660, 72.5 cm by 64.7 cm (28.5 in × 25.5 in), oil on canvas      

Perhaps the most valuable work of art ever stolen. Worth $200 million plus.

02Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of GalileeRembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 160 cm by 128 cm (62.99 in × 50.39 in), oil/canvas

Owing to its extremely large size, this was one of the two paintings cut from the frame to make room on an obviously too small get away vehicle.

03A lady and gentleman in black by RembrandtRembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), A Lady and Gentleman in Black, 1633, 131.6 cm by 109 cm (51.8 in × 43 in), oil/canvas

This work too was cut from its frame, a victim again of its sheer size. Long attributed to Rembrandt, scholars in the Netherlands started to express their doubts when the painting was stolen.

04flink formerRembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 076Govaert Teuniszoon Flinck (1615–1660), Landscape with Obelisk, 1638, 54.5 cm by 71 cm (21.5 in × 28 in), oil/wood

Rumored to be somewhere in America, wiseguys on the street have called the above, "Scenery wit' a needle".

05Edouard Manet Chez TortoniÉdouard Manet (1832-1883), Chez Tortoni, 1878, 26 cm by 34 cm (10 in × 13 in), Oil on canvas

06degas sortiepesage

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Sortie Pesage, 10 cm by 16 cm, 4 by 6 inches, pencil and watercolor on paper

07degas cortege

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Cortege, 6 inches high (15.6 cm) and 8 inches long (20.6 cm)., pencil and watercolor on paper 

08Degas Three Mounted Jockeys

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Three Mounted Jockeys, 12 inches high by 9.5 inches long (30 cm by 24 cm), mixed media on paper

09Degas Program for an artistic soiree 1Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Program for an artistic soiree 1, charcoal on paper, likely similar size as the next one

10Degas Program for an artistic soiree 2

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Program for an artistic soiree 2, 10 inches (25 cm) by about 12 inches (31 cm). A second Degas sketch represents a less-finished version of the first.

11Rembrandt Self portrait etching ISGMRembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669), Self Portrait Etching, 1634, 1.75 by 2 in, ink on paper

12Finial robbed from Isabella Stewart Gardner MuseumNapoleonic Eagle finial, which formerly afixed to the pole of a silk Napoleonic flag, circa 1812-1814, gilded bronze piece, 25cm or 10 inches

 13ku vaseKu bronze beaker, Shang Dynasty, China, dates to 1200 B.C. and 1100 B.C., 10 inches (25 cm) tall and weighs 2 pounds, 7 ounces (1.1 kilograms)

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You may also like to read:

*  "Priceless" Evening at the Frick Collection, Agent Robert Wittman on Art Theft

*  Gardner Heist Perps, Unmasked At Last?

*  Who Did The Gardner Heist & Did The Canary Finally Sing?

*  With Remains Identified, An Old Killer Comes Back Into Focus

*  One of the Gardner Perps Back in Trouble - Now There's a Surprise

*  Bobby DeLuca goes Canary on "Cadillac Frank" Salemme for old Boston rub out


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