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Theft Notice - Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Robbery of priceless works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 2 Palace Road, Boston, Massachusetts, March 18, 1990.

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property & Major Theft

A FIVE MILLION DOLLAR Reward is offered for the safe recovery of all stolen items in good condition. The recovery of an individual object will result in a portion of the reward, based upon the object's market value.

On March 18, 1990, the Gardner Museum was robbed by two unknown white males dressed in police uniforms and identifying themselves a Boston police officers. The unknown subjects gained entrance into the museum by advising on-duty security personnel that they were responding to a call of a disturbance within the compound. Security, contrary to museum regulations, allowed the unknown subjects into the facility.

Upon gaining entry, the two unknown subjects abducted the on duty security personnel, securing both guards with duct tape and handcuffs in separate remote areas of the museum's basement. The unknown subjects brandished no weapons, nor were any weapons seen during this heist. Other than a "panic" button located behind the guards' watch desk area, the museum alarm system was internally only. Since the panic button was not activated, no actual police notification was made during the robbery. The video surveillance film was seized by the unknown subjects prior to their departure.

While in the museum from the hours of 1:24 a.m. to 2:45 a.m., the unknown subjects seized the following works of art, the values of which have been estimated as high as 300 million dollars.


  1. VERMEER, THE CONCERT; Oil on canvas, 72.5 x 64.7 cm.
  2. REMBRANDT, A LADY AND GENTLEMAN IN BLACK; Oil on canvas, 131.6 x 109 cm. Inscribed at the foot, REMBRANDT. FT: 1633.
  3. REMBRANDT, THE STORM ON THE SEA OF GALILEE, Oil on canvas, 161.7 x 129.8. cm. Inscribed on the rudder, REMBRANDT. FT: 1633
  4. REMBRANDT, SELF PORTRAIT, Etching, 1 3/4" x 2", (Postage Stamp size)
  5. GOVAERT FLINCK, LANDSCAPE WITH AN OBELISK , Oil on an oak panel, 54.5 x 71 cm. Inscribed faintly at the foot on the right; R. 16.8 (until recently this was attributed to Rembrandt).
  6. CHINESE BRONZE BEAKER OR "KU", Chinese, SHANG DYNASTY, 1200-1100 BC; height of 10 ", diameter of 6 1/8", with a weight of 2 pounds, 7 ounces.


  1. DEGAS, LA SORTIE DU PELAGE, pencil and water color on paper, 10 x 16 cm.
  2. DEGAS, CORTEGE AUX ENVIRONS DE FLORENCE, pencil and wash on paper, 16 x 21 cm. (This and the above were originally in a single frame.)
  3. DEGAS, THREE MOUNTED JOCKEYS; Black ink, white, flesh and rose washes, probably oil pigments, applied with a brush on medium brown paper, 30.5 x 24 cm.
  4. DEGAS, PROGRAM FOR AN ARTISTIC SOIREE; Charcoal on white paper, 24.1 x 30.9 cm.
  5. DEGAS, PROGRAM FOR AN ARTISTIC SOIREE; a less finished version of the above, charcoal on buff paper, 23.4 x 30 cm. (This and the above were originally in a single frame.)


  1. MANET, CHEZ TORTONI; Oil on canvas, 26 x 34 cm

All logical leads have been followed through to conclusion with no positive investigative results. Numerous interviews have been conducted, many accompanied by polygraph examination, with no substantial positive information developed. All forensic evidence recovered by the Boston Police Department and the F.B.I. from the crime scene has been submitted to the F.B.I. Laboratory Division for analysis and storage. Appropriate computer entries and notifications regarding the theft and description of the unknown subjects have been made.

Unknown Subjects described as follows on 3/18/90:

Unknown Suspect Number One

Race: White
Sex: Male
Age: Late 20's to mid 30's
Height: 5'7" to 5'10"
Weight: Unknown
Build: Medium
Eyes: Dark
Hair: Black, short cropped
Complexion: Fair to medium
Facial Structure: Narrow
Facial Hair: Wearing a dark, shiny mustache, appearing to be false
Glasses: Wearing square-shaped, gold framed glasses
Clothing: Fully ornamented dark blue police uniform and hat, and dark shoes, with patch on left shoulder, possibly with wording "Boston Police."
Equipment: Carrying a square black radio (with 5" to 6" antenna) on belt
Accent: Possibly Boston


Unknown Suspect Number Two

Race: White 
Sex: Male 
Age: Early to mid 30's 
Height: 6'0" to 6'1" 
Weight: 180 to 200 pounds 
Build: Fairly broad shoulders, lanky from the waist down 
Eyes: Dark 
Hair: Black, medium length, puffy with additional length in back, rounded off just over the collar 
Complexion: Fair to medium 
Facial Structure: Round
Facial Hair: Black shiny mustache appearing to be false 
Glasses: None 
Clothing: Same as Unknown Subject Number One 
Equipment: Same as Unknown Subject Number One 

Persons with information regarding the Gardner Museum theft should contact the Boston F.B.I. office at 1-888-233-5914. Callers will be assured confidentiality by use of a code name.

(All images are scanned from publications copyrighted by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and are protected under international copyright laws. Republication of posting of these images is prohibited.)



The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:
A Companion Guide and History

by Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Face to Face: Photographs at the Gardner Museum
by Abelardo Morell

Introduction to Object ID: Guidelines for Making Records That Describe Art, Antiques, and Antiquities
by Robin Thornes

Art Theft and Forgery Investigation:
The Complete Field Manual
by Robert Spiel

The Gods Are Leaving the Country:
Art Theft from Nepal

by J\201rgen Schick

The Spoils of World War II:
The American Military's Role in the Stealing of Europe's Treasures

by Kenneth Alford

Old Masters Repainted:
A Detailed Investigation into the Authenticity of Paintings Attributed to Wu Zhen (1280-1354)

by Joan Stanley-Baker

The Art Forger's Handbook
by Eric Hebborn

Stolen Art
by Victor Perry, Louis Rapoport

Missing and Stolen Pictures