90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Gardner Heist and Stolen Art

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait, ca. 1634, one of the works stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston on March 18, 1990. (Image: www.gardnermuseum.org; click for full size.)

Post your comments below

The biggest museum art theft in history happened twenty years ago next month — half a billion dollars worth of art stolen in the middle of the night from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston by thieves dressed as police officers.

Guards handcuffed and bound with duct tape. Paintings — of Rembrandt, Degas, Vermeer — grabbed from frames and whisked into the night.

They’ve never been recovered.

Global art theft is big business. So where are these paintings? The museum is still on the trail. We’ll ask what they know.

This hour, On Point: we’re chasing down the biggest art heist in history.

Guests:

Anne Hawley, director of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum since 1989.

Anthony Amore, director of security for the Gardner Museum. He joined the Gardner in 2005 and is responsible for recovering the 13 works of art stolen from the museum two decades ago. Before joining the Gardner he worked at the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Security Division.

Robert Wittman, former senior investigator and founder of the FBI’s National Art Crime Team. He spent 20 years with the FBI, and recovered $225 million worth of stolen art and cultural property. He now runs the art recovery and protection firm, Robert Wittman Inc. His forthcoming book is “Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures.”

See a photo gallery of the artworks stolen from the Gardner Museum in 1990.

The Art Loss Register allows you to check a global registry of lost or stolen art.

Host Tom Ashbrook and On Point producers toured the Gardner on Tuesday with security director Anthony Amore.

Anthony Amore, the director of security for the Gardner Museum, gives On Point host Tom Ashbrook a tour of the basement where guards were handcuffed by thieves on March 18, 1990. (Photo: WBUR)

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 29, 2015
Mike Johnson, a sales manager at a local Honda car dealership, walks past a row of Honda CRV SUVs Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Tempe, Ariz.  (AP)

Is it the next subprime scandal? Banking giants piling into high-interest auto loans for the poor. We’ll investigate.

Jan 29, 2015
This Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 a street side memorial with a painted portrait of Ezell Ford near where he was shot when police confronted him on Aug. 11, 2014, on a street near his home in South Los Angeles. (AP)

The author of “Ghettoside” takes us deep into murder and law enforcement in minority neighborhoods. We want your story.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 28, 2015
tasty

Did our sense of taste make us human? From evolution to culture, a new book explores the science and perception of flavor.

 
Jan 28, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Pellissippi State Community College Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP)

The promise of free community college. What it might mean for our economy and our fraying social contract.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment