Isabella Gardner Museum heist – 20th anniversary

On March 18, 1990, two men gained entrance to the Gardner Museum in Boston and made off with a dozen pieces of artwork worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The case remains unsolved and the art missing.

On this day in 1990, two men dressed as police officers gained entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and made off with a dozen pieces of artwork—including The Concert by Vermeers, as well as works by Rembrandt, Manet and Degas—worth hundreds of millions of dollars. To this day the case remains unsolved and the art missing.

For further insight into the crime and the likelihood of apprehending the perpetrators see Failure’s interview with Ulrich Boser, author of the recent book “The Gardner Heist.” As far as I know, the museum’s directors are still offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the return of the works.

Of course, the Gardner Museum isn’t the only art museum in Boston, which is also home to the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). Notably, MOBA has experienced a few thefts of its own. In one case, the thief demanded $10 in exchange for the safe return of a painting he lifted from a gallery wall. The case was closed when the perpetrator returned the painting to the museum two weeks later—with a ten dollar bill taped to the canvas.