Page ID: 86



The theft of cultural objects.

Three satirical artworks by the artist concerning the March 18, 1990 theft of thirteen objects from the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum. The poet and art collector Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) commented, “The first hope of a painter who feels hopeful about painting is the hope that the painting will move, that it will live outside the frame.”

Little did the artists of the stolen works of art ever imagine how one day they would come to live outside their picture frames. Since the paintings remain “out of sight” it is not possible to return them to their frames. However, it is important that all of the missing objects, not just the theft be kept in the public’s mind. I am attempting, through these three artworks to personally share with the public the grieving, hoping and mourning we have endured and impress on the public the irreplaceable loss of these treasures.

Let us remember there can be no “statute of limitations” placed on hope.

“Can I seek another grief, and not seek for kind relief.”
William Blake (1757-1827)MEDIUM:
Cradled wood panel, assemblage, collage, replica 1990 newspaper, walnut ink, string, shellac, fabric.ARTWORK:
19½” x 23¼” x 1½”FRAME:
Satin Finished Black
20¾” x 24¼” x 3½”
“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)MEDIUM: Cradled wood panel, assemblage, collage, antique wood strainer, replica 1997 newspaper, feathers, glass vial with paint flakes, miniature frame, fabric.ARTWORK:
20″ x 23¼” x 1½”FRAME:
Satin Finished Black
21½” x 24⅓” x 3½”
Gardner Museum Theft, March 18, 1990
School of the Museum of Fine Arts
Boston, Massachusetts
Annual Student Support
Bernard Berenson (1865-1995)MEDIUM:
Cradled wood panel, assemblage, collage, antique wood strainer, painting mixing stirrers, black tassels, fabric.ARTWORK:
25½” x 39″ x 1″FRAME:
Satin Finished Black
26¾” x 40″ x 2½”

Note: For information about stolen objects visit the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum website or The National Stolen Art File.

Research Sources:
1. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
2. The National Stolen Art File,
3. Amore, A. & Mashberg, T.: Stealing Rembrants, Palgrave Macmillian/St. Martin’s Press, N.Y. N.Y., 2011.
4. Boser, Ulrich: The Gardner Heist, Harper Collins/Smithsonian Books, N.Y. N.Y., 2009.
5. Connor, Myles: The Art of The Heist, Harper Collins, N.Y. N.Y., 2009.

6. Fogelman, P. et al. : Stolen, The Gardner Theft, Benna & Appleton Books, MA., 2018.

7. Houpt, Simon: Museum of The Missing, A History of Art Theft, Sterling Publishing, N.Y. N.Y., 2006
8. Kurkjian,Stephen: Master Thieves Public Affairs/Perseus Book Group, N.Y. N.Y. 2015.
9. McGovern, James: Artful Deception, Long Point & CreateSpace Publishing, 2012.