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In the Great Green Room, There was…a Shocking Theft—Historic Robbery in Dresden at State Art Collections

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on November 25, 2019 at 10:23 PM

While the incomparable Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd does not take place in Dresden, that is where today brought news of a robbery at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the State Art Collections that house the treasures of the Free State of Saxony. Specifically, two thieves broke into the Grünes Gewölbe—the Green Vault—which holds the rarest objects of all. Headlines understandably honed in on monetary values in the hundreds of millions or even billions, but these objects are, in fact, priceless.  It is a horrifying crime against a rich cultural heritage in an historic city.

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Topics: Holy Roman Empire, Dresden, DDR, Gemäldegalerie Dresden, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, East Germany, Tashkent, Paris Court of Appeal, Goodnight Moon, Anne Hawley, House of Wettin, Augustus the Strong, Zwinger, Frauenkirche, Rezidenzschloss, Fürstenzug, Gottfried Semper, Grünes Gewölbe, Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd, Residenzschloss, Green Vault, Thomas Crown affair, Bond villain, Marion Ackerman, Michael Kretschmer, Free State of Saxony, Freistaat Sachsen, Electorate of Saxony, Thirty Years War, Schatzkammer, Wittelsbach, GDR

FBI Returns to House Where it Did Not Find Gardner Museum Art Before, Does Not Find Gardner Museum Art There

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on May 4, 2016 at 12:54 PM

Refreshingly, March 18 passed this year without the usual breathless maybe-it’s-about-to-turn-up coverage that has often been manufactured each year on the anniversary of the Isabella Stewart Gardner heist of 1990. That theft, which remains on the short list of civic and public crimes against Boston, remains unsolved. After what seemed like a real development last year: the disclosure of the surveillance tape of the night before the theft and a possible dry run by the criminals, news has been scarce. Notwithstanding a few tipsters seemingly intent on paraphrasing Danny Ocean’s “I know a guy” speech in Ocean’s Eleven, the tape release has not managed to warm a cold trail.

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Topics: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft

FBI Claims to Know Identity of Gardner Thieves, Timing Deserves Scrutiny

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on March 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM

The FBI issued a press release today in which it states that with a “high degree” of confidence, it has identified the thieves responsible for the 1990 theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This development is remarkable for what it says, and what it does not, and deserving of a skeptical view given its timing. The FBI release adds sufficient details to rise above the rumor mill, but it raises as many questions as it answers.

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Topics: Edgar Degas, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Gardner Heist, The Concert, Govaert Flinck, Chez Tortoni, 1990, Edouard Manet, La Sortie de Pesage, Anthony Amore, Rembrandt, Tom Mashberg, Vermeer, Three Mounted Jockeys, Program for an artistic soiree 1 & 2, March 18, Museums, Richard DesLauriers, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft, James “Whitey” Bulger, Cortege aux Environs de Florence, A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Landscape with Obelisk

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About the Blog

The Art Law Report provides timely updates and commentary on legal issues in the museum and visual arts communities. It is authored by Nicholas M. O'Donnell, partner in our Art & Museum Law Practice.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

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