Who Pulled Off the Biggest Art Heist in History?

Art|Art History

The biggest art heist in history occurred in 1990 when two thieves walked into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, and stole 13 pieces of artwork worth an estimated $500 million. The two thieves were never caught and the paintings remain missing to this day.

The theft occurred on March 18, 1990. Two men disguised as police officers told the overnight security guard that they were investigating a disturbance. The security guard allowed them into the museum and left his post after being reassured by the fake police officers.

Once inside, the thieves disabled security cameras and proceeded to steal 13 pieces of artwork from various galleries throughout the museum. Among the stolen items were three Rembrandts, including his only seascape painting “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee”; five drawings by Edgar Degas; one painting each from Manet, Flinck and Govaert Flinck; a Chinese gu vase; and a finial from a Napoleonic flagstaff.

The thieves were never caught and there have been no leads as to who was responsible for this heist or where the stolen artwork is located. Despite offering a reward of $5 million for any information leading to their recovery, none of the paintings have been found.

This art heist is considered to be one of the biggest unsolved mysteries in modern history and has generated a lot of interest over the years with several books being written about it as well as numerous documentaries produced about it. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum continues to hope that one day their artwork will be recovered and returned to its rightful place.

Conclusion: Who pulled off the biggest art heist in history remains a mystery to this day despite many theories being put forward over time as to who was responsible for this unsolved crime. To date, none of the stolen artifacts have been recovered despite offering a substantial reward for any information leading to their return.