“Boser cracks the cold case of the art world’s greatest unsolved mystery.”— Vanity Fair
One museum, two thieves, and the Boston underworld: the riveting story of the 1990 Gardner Museum robbery, the largest unsolved art theft in history. Perfect for fans of the Netflix series This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist!
Shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and committed the largest art heist in history. They stole a dozen masterpieces, including one Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and five Degas. But after thousands of leads, hundreds of interviews, and a $5 million reward, not a single painting has been recovered. Worth as much as $500 million, the missing masterpieces have become the Holy Grail of the art world and their theft one of the nation’s most extraordinary unsolved mysteries.
Art detective Harold Smith worked the theft for years, and after his death, reporter Ulrich Boser decided to pick up where he left off. Traveling deep into the art underworld, Boser explores Smith’s unfinished leads and comes across a remarkable cast of characters, including a brilliant rock ‘n’ roll art thief and a golden-boy gangster who professes his innocence in rhyming verse. A tale of art and greed, of obsession and loss, The Gardner Heist is as compelling as the stolen masterpieces themselves.
In the early morning hours of March 18, 1990, thieves posing as cops entered Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and left with a haul unrivaled in the art world, including three Rembrandts and a Vermeer, valued today at $600 million. Boser, a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report, turned amateur sleuth after the death of a legendary independent fine arts claims adjuster, Harold Smith, who was haunted by the Gardner robbery. Boser carried on Smith's work, pursuing leads as varied as James "Whitey" Bulger's Boston mob and the IRA. Along the way, he visited felons including the notorious art thief Myles Connor and Bob Wittman, the FBI's only art theft undercover agent. Boser's rousing account of his years spent collecting clues large and small is entertaining enough to make readers almost forget that, after 18 years, the paintings have still not been found: the museum is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to their return. Photos.
Unresolved Sad Mystery
The author meticulously covers a lot of information on this notorious robbery. It's terribly sad that common, murderous criminals are no doubt behind it and we may never see the 13 irreplaceable art works again. 20 years is too long. I did feel like the author inserted himself too much in the story. Otherwise, good writing.