Saturday, October 9, 2021

Last mobster tied to Boston art heist dies

Robert Gentile, a mobster who cops suspected in a 1990 museum heist has died of a stroke at age 85. Its thought he once had possession of some of the artwork taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. 13 pieces from the collection, including works from Rembrandt, Vermeer and Degas were lifted. The art has never been found. Among the stolen works was 'The Concert', one of 34 known works by Vermeer and thought to be the most valuable stolen painting at over $200 million. Some $500 million worth of art, including Rembrandt’s 'Storm on the Sea of Galilee' was stolen.

'The Concert' by Vermeer
The Gardner heist was carried out by two men dressed like cops who overpowered a night security guard who had buzzed them in. During a polygraph test, Gentile had an intense reaction when shown images of the missing paintings, while he remained calm when shown unrelated artwork. The museum offered a reward of $5m. In 2017 this was doubled to $10m with an expiration date set to the end of that year.

'A Lady and Gentleman in Black' by Rembrandt, painted in 1633.
31 years after the heist, the empty frames still hang in the Gardner Museum.
'Chez Tortoni' by Manet.