The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft

The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft

by Ulrich Boser


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


Shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and committed the largest art heist in history. They stole a dozen masterpieces, including one Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and five Degas. But after thousands of leads—and a $5 million reward—none of the paintings have been recovered. Worth as much as $500 million, the missing masterpieces have become one of the nation's most extraordinary unsolved mysteries.

After the death of famed art detective Harold Smith, reporter Ulrich Boser decided to take up the case. Exploring Smith's unfinished leads, Boser travels deep into the art underworld and comes across a remarkable cast of characters, including a brilliant rock 'n' roll thief, a gangster who professes his innocence in rhyming verse, and the enigmatic late Boston heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner herself. Boser becomes increasingly obsessed with the case and eventually uncovers startling new evidence about the identities of the thieves. A tale of art and greed, of obsession and loss, The Gardner Heist is as compelling as the stolen masterpieces themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061451843
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/16/2010
Pages: 260
Sales rank: 207,724
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

Ulrich Boser has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Smithsonian magazine, Slate, and many other publications. He has served as a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report and is the founding editor of The Open Case, a crime magazine and web community. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix

1 The Storm on the Sea of Galilee: A Disturbance in the Courtyard 1

2 Chez Tortoni: The Art Detective 11

3 A Lady and Gentleman in Black: It Was a Passion 29

4 The Concert: The Picture Habit 43

5 Cortege aux Environs de Florence: The Art of the Theft 63

6 Landscape with an Obelisk: Something That Big 77

7 Ku: Unfinished Business 89

8 Three Mounted Jockeys: Infiltrate and infatuate 109

9 Self-Portrait: I Was the One 133

10 Program for an Artistic Soiree: Any News on Your Side 155

11 Program for an Artistic Soiree II: Where's Whitey? 171

12 La Sortie de Pesage: Put My Picture on the Cover 189

13 Finial: Like a Spiderweb 209

Sources 225

Bibliography 243

Photo Credits 245

Acknowledgments 247

Index 249

What People are Saying About This

John Kerry

“Now we read this. It looks like the largest theft since the Devil Rays took what should have been the Red Sox’s 2008 American League championship. I don’t know if those paintings ended up on eBay, but I do know they’re not onmy walls.”

Customer Reviews