Sunday, August 27, 2023

Art heists

Madonna of the Yarnwinder by Leonardo Da Vinci, worth more than £40m, was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in 2003 when two axe-wielding men overpowered a guide. Four years later two private detectives, claiming to be brokering the reward money, were arrested in a sting and put on trial with three lawyers. All walked free, with one still trying to claim the reward. The painting was recovered.

In 1974 thieves forced open the iron bars on a window at Kenwood House and made off with Vermeer’s The Guitar Player, then worth £5m. The painting was found after an anonymous tip in the cemetery of St Bartholomew’s Church in London, wrapped in newspaper.
Robert Gentile, a mobster who cops suspected in the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist in Boston died of a stroke at age 85 in 2022. Its thought he once had some of the stolen artwork.  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.

33 years after the heist, the empty frames still hang in the Gardner Museum.

'Storm on the Sea of Galilee'

'A Lady and Gentleman in Black' by Rembrandt, painted in 1633.

'Chez Tortoni' by Manet.