Friday, April 14, 2017

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Theft: Mashberg and Massachusetts


Summary: Reporter Tom Mashberg gives the how, who and why of a beaker, a finial and three Rembrandts among 13 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft casualties.


three Rembrandts stolen during Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 1990 art theft ~ The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (left), A Lady and Gentleman in Black (center) and Self Portrait Wearing a Soft Cap (right): Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public Domain, via FBI Art Crime Team

Hideaways in New England for 13 casualties of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art theft March 18, 1990, agree with research by journalist Tom Mashberg, co-author with Anthony Amore of Stealing Rembrandts.
Newspaper articles by the Boston Globe reporter based one beaker, one etching, one finial, five drawings and five paintings in Massachusetts or near the commonwealth's borders. They considered control over the stolen Gardner 13 connected to associates of rock musician Myles J. Connor Jr. and of antiques dealer William P. Youngworth III. They did not describe the same controllers and perpetrators in 1997 that, through details from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), they deemed suspects in 2015.
Non-corroborating information and unfulfilled promises explain two different sets of dead and surviving suspected perpetrators and controllers elaborated in 1997 and 1998 and expressed in 2015.

"Tom Mashberg talks to the suspect antiquities dealer William P. Youngworth III": Charles Sabba via Gardner Heist Gossips blog post of Feb. 14, 2014

The Boston Herald journalist furnished as suspected perpetrators Robert Donati (June 4, 1940-Sept. 21, 1991) and David Houghton (April 8, 1939-March 29, 1992) by summer 1997. He gave as his information source the revelations of Myles P. Connor Jr. during conversations with prison cellmate Edward B. "Rocco" Ellis during the early 1990s. He had as motives helping Connor's early release by removing and returning the Gardner 13 "Just like you did with the (stolen) Rembrandt" April 14, 1975. Eleven years off a 15-year art-stealing and bail-jumping sentence inspired Connor's grabbing Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn's (July 15, 1606-Oct. 4, 1669) portrait of Elizabeth van Rijn.
Similar motives join the 13 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art theft casualties, including three Rembrandts, and the Massachusetts Museum of Fine Arts theft of one Rembrandt.

Rembrandt's 1632 portrait of Elizabeth van Rijn, entitled "Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak," removed April 14, 1975, by Myles Connor Jr. from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and now in a New Yorker's private collection: Public Domain, via The Athenaeum

Expert reactions to sighting one of the Gardner 13 Aug. 8, 1997, and testing paint chips in Oct. 1997, kindled the investigative journalist's re-examination of suspects.
The FBI labeled a two-minute sighting Aug. 18, 1997, as The New York Times reporter viewing a copy of The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. Museum conservator Barbara Mangum mentioned, "It would have been very difficult to roll up that painting because of the wax. It made that painting very stiff." FBI-arranged testing of paint chips, from Youngworth to broker artwork returns and "release from prison of my friend Myles Connor," noted no match with Rembrandt's seascape.
Release from prison in 2005 occurred without the promised overlapping return of 11 (minus beaker and finial) of 13 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art theft casualties.

Myles Connor in Blackstone, Massachusetts: Charles Sabba via Gardner Heist Gossips blog post of Feb. 14, 2014

A 350-pound (158.76-kilogram) weight provoking coronary artery disease and an age 20 years beyond police composites proved respectively problematic for Houghton and Reissfelder as suspected perpetrators. Information from 1997 queued Leonard DiMuzio (July 6, 1947-June 11, 1991) and George Reissfelder (Feb. 22, 1940-Apr. 11, 1991) into FBI databases and recent Mashberg articles. It referred to Carmello Merlino (June 21, 1934-Dec. 7, 2005), Robert Gentile, Robert Guarente (Dec. 29, 1939-Jan. 25, 2004) and Robert Luisi Jr. as suspected controllers.
Mashberg and Wittman considerations suggested respective reasons for stealing the beaker and Rembrandts because of Connor's artistic preferences and the finial because of Corsica's Napoleonic connections. Ascertaining why some, why not other, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art theft casualties ultimately takes a back seat to what return date triumphs amid ever-changing dead-ends.

WGBH News/YouTube: "Gardner Museum Security Director On 25-Year-Long Art Heist"

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
three Rembrandts stolen during Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 1990 art theft ~ The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (left), A Lady and Gentleman in Black (center) and Self Portrait Wearing a Soft Cap (right): Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public Domain, via FBI Art Crime Team @ https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/5-million-reward-offered-for-return-of-stolen-gardner-museum-artwork
"Tom Mashberg talks to the suspect antiquities dealer William P. Youngworth III" in Gardner Heist Gossips vignette by Charles Sabba: Charles Sabba via Gardner Heist Gossips blog post of Feb. 14, 2014, @ http://gardnerheistgossips.blogspot.com/
Rembrandt's 1632 portrait of Elizabeth van Rijn, entitled "Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak," removed April 14, 1975, by Myles Connor Jr. from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and now in a New Yorker's private collection: Public Domain, via The Athenaeum @ http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=149888
Myles Connor in Blackstone, Massachusetts, in Charles Sabba's Gardner Heist Gossips vignette: Charles Sabba via Gardner Heist Gossips blog post of Feb. 14, 2014, @ http://gardnerheistgossips.blogspot.com/

For further information:
Amore, Anthony M.; and Tom Mashberg. 2011. Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists. New York NY: Palgrave Macmillan division of St. Martin's Press LLC.
Burnstein, Scott M. "Mafia Art-Heist Mystery - Part 1." Gangster Report.
Available @ http://gangsterreport.com/mafia-art-heist-mystery-part-1/
Burnstein, Scott M. "Mafia Art-Heist Mystery - Part 2." Gangster Report.
Available @ http://gangsterreport.com/mafia-art-heist-mystery-part-2/
Marriner, Derdriu. 20 January 2017. "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Theft: Rembrandt Couple." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-art_20.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 13 January 2017. "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Theft: Rembrandt Seascape." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-art_13.html
Marriner, Derdriu. 6 January 2017. "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Theft: Rembrandt Self-Portrait." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2017/01/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-art.html
Mashberg, Tom. March 1998. "Stealing Beauty." Vanity Fair > Culture.
Available @ http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/1998/03/biggest-art-heist-us-history
Mashberg, Tom. 26 February 2015. "Isabella Stewart Gardner Heist: 25 Years of Theories." The New York Times > Art & Design.
Available @ https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/arts/design/isabella-stewart-gardner-heist-25-years-of-theories.html?_r=0
Sabba, Charles. 14 February 2014. "Art Crime Portraits: Gardner Gossips Lecture 2014." Gardner Heist Gossips blog.
Available @ http://gardnerheistgossips.blogspot.com/
WGBH News. "Gardner Museum Security Director On 25-Year-Long Art Heist." YouTube. March 18, 2015.
Available @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkNj0825jIQ


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