This Is a Robbery is the newest true crime documentary streaming on Netflix. Instead of focusing on serial killers or unsolved mysteries, the film is all about one of the greatest art robberies of all time.
In March 1990, two guys dressed as police officers gained entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. They tied up the guards and stole an estimated $500 million of art, including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Degas. To this day, not one of the artworks has been recovered. The picture frames hang vacant in the gallery as a reminder of this crime, according to Last Seen, a WBUR podcast.
All of the Artworks Stolen in the Gardner Museum Robbery
A Lady and Gentleman in Black by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633
Although its attribution was disputed, this is now believed to be Rembrandt‘s initial dual portrait, a 4-foot-high canvas painted while the artist was in his late twenties.
Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633
Of the works stolen by the museum in 1990, Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee is probably the one that has made the most appearances in popular culture. Shows as diverse as The Blacklist, Iron Fist and The Venture Bros have featured plots about its theft or purchase.
Even bigger than A Lady and Gentleman in Black, it depicts a New Testament story in dramatic style.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Rembrandt van Rijn, roughly 1633
One of Rembrandt’s beloved self-portraits, this etching was among the smallest works stolen at about 2 inches square.
The Concert by Johannes Vermeer, 1663-66
Per the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Concert may be the most valuable stolen object in the world, valued at $250 million. Gardner bought it in a Paris auction for $5,000 in 1892. In a spooky episode of foreshadowing, an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour broadcast in 1964 was about the theft of this job. It is one of just 34 famous paintings by Vermeer.
Three Mounted Jockeys from Edgar Degas, about 1885-88
One of five Degas works on paper stolen from cabinets at the museum’s Short Gallery. It’s one of the artist’s many sketches of horses and their riders.
Procession on a Road Near Florence by Edgar Degas, 1857-60
A larger drawing in the museum set (measuring 6 by 8 inches, which makes it postcard-sized), this reveals Degas working within an unusual historical mode.
Studies for the Programme by Edgar Degas, 1884
These two designs for a program to follow an”artistic soirée” reveal a more frivolous side of the artist, trying out images to reflect an evening of dancing and music in June 1884. He made many variations of the analysis: one is at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Leaving the Paddock from Edgar Degas, 19th century
“Perhaps the most important of the stolen Degas,” according to the website of this Last Seen podcast. This work in watercolor and pencil on paper also comes with a jockey and horse–and the pencil shows Degas’ method as he moves figures around in the composition.
Chez Tortoni by Edouard Manet, about 1875
A little oil painting which used to hang in the museum’s Blue Room, it features a young man using a glass of wine at the eponymous restaurant. This made a brief appearance in a 2011 episode of The Vampire Diaries.
Eagle Finial by Pierre-Philippe Thomire, 1813-14
The bronze finial decorated a military flagpole that used to be in Gardner’s home before it was moved to the museum. It was a rare illustration of the thieves being foiled: they attempted and failed to steal the whole Napoleonic regimental flag.
Landscape with an Obelisk by Govaert Flinck, 1638
This painting has been carried off along with the Vermeer it was framed with. Once considered to be by Rembrandt, the landscape has been ascribed to one of the students.
Gu, 12th century BCE
This Chinese bronze beaker, or gu, has been one of the earliest items in the Gardner collection. It had been in the Dutch Room close to the Vermeer and Rembrandts–and stolen with them.