Art Law Report

Annual Gardner Heist Coverage Is More Constructive This Year

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 18, 2015 at 7:37 AM

Last year we called shenanigans on the seemingly-random, but actually predictable “updates” about March 18 1990 theft of paintings by Rembrandt, Manet, and others from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Our point last year was simple: the manufactured stories about what the FBI claims to know (“confirmed sightings” and the supposed identity of the supposed thief) are worse than no news. The FBI has no idea where those paintings are, and I am highly skeptical of the FBI’s claims to know who did it. It’s theoretically possible that protecting the identity of a dead thief would be important to an ongoing investigation, but that presupposes that there is anything going on. I am unpersuaded that anything new has happened in years.

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Topics: Gardner Heist, Zodiac, Degas, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Rembrandt, Tom Mashberg, Vermeer, Museums, New York Times, Manet, Storm on the Sea of Galilee

FBI Claims to Have "Confirmed Sightings" of Stolen Gardner Artwork, But Offers Only Stale Information and Conjecture

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 22, 2014 at 6:23 AM

The FBI said today that the bureau has received “confirmed” sightings of the works of art stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Thieves dressed as police robbed the museum of thirteen major works of art on March 18, 1990, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet. Read carefully, however, the story is nothing new at all, just a retelling of last year’s “news” released around the anniversary of the theft and a raft of conjecture.

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Topics: Gardner Heist, Philadelphia, Robert Guarente, Degas, and Robert Gentile, Carmello Merlino, The Storm on the Sea of Gallilee, Manet Richard DesLauriers, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Globe, FBI, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Museums, Special Agent Geoff Kelly, La Cosa Nostra

FBI Claims to Know Identity of Gardner Thieves, Timing Deserves Scrutiny

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM

The FBI issued a press release today in which it states that with a “high degree” of confidence, it has identified the thieves responsible for the 1990 theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This development is remarkable for what it says, and what it does not, and deserving of a skeptical view given its timing. The FBI release adds sufficient details to rise above the rumor mill, but it raises as many questions as it answers.

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Topics: Edgar Degas, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Gardner Heist, The Concert, Govaert Flinck, Chez Tortoni, 1990, Edouard Manet, La Sortie de Pesage, Anthony Amore, Rembrandt, Tom Mashberg, Vermeer, Three Mounted Jockeys, Program for an artistic soiree 1 & 2, March 18, Museums, Richard DesLauriers, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft, James “Whitey” Bulger, Cortege aux Environs de Florence, A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Landscape with Obelisk

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