Friday, May 5, 2017

Gardner Museum Art Theft Unsolved on Chácara Museum Theft Anniversary


Summary: The second Gardner Museum art theft and Chácara Museum art robbery are America's major unsolved art crimes on the first Chácara Museum theft anniversary.


Chácara do Céu Museum (left) and Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (right) are sites of major unsolved art thefts in the Americas:
photograph of Museu da Chácara do Céu, taken 13 days before Feb. 24, 2006, art theft: Ministério da Cultura do Brasil, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons;
1903 photograph of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, viewed from the Fens, by T.E. Marr and Son Photography: gardnermuseum via Instagram Feb. 24, 2016

The second Chácara do Céu and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art thefts still are unsolved 28 years after the first Chácara do Céu robbery May 3, 1989, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Boston crime March 18, 1990, and the Rio Feb. 24, 2006, belong on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) list of top 10 unsolved mysteries. The Gardner museum robbery in 1970 and Chácara Museum theft in 1989 can be considered closed through culling stolen artworks the year of each crime's commission. Ulrich Boser in The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft described a dealer delivering the Rembrandt stolen by the "underworld."
Newspaper coverage in Brazil explained the first Chácara Museum art crime as an armed intervention from which arrest of suspects and return of artworks quickly ensued.

First art thefts at Chácara do Céu Museum in 1989 and at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1970 foreshadow the second art thefts in 2006 and 1990, respectively, with same removals of Salvador Dalí's "Two Balconies" and Henri Matisse's "Luxembourg Gardens" (left) from Chácara do Céu and a self portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn (right) from Isabella Stewart Gardner:
Henri Matisse's Luxembourg Garden (Portuguese: Jardim de Luxemburgo): Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via FBI;
Rembrandt van Rijn's "Self Portrait Wearing a Soft Cap: Full Face, Head Only": Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via FBI

The first robberies foreshadowed the second by fingering the same Rembrandt self-portrait in 1970 and 1990 and the same Dalí and Matisse in 1989 and 2006.
Armed intervention before closing times guided both Chácara Museum robberies and grab-and-go during operating hours while smash-and-grab after-hours galvanized the first and second Gardner Museum thefts. Reconstruction of 28-year-old events has six armed robbers heading through museum gardens and herding staff and visitors together in the three-floored museum late in the afternoon. Both Chácara Museum art thefts involved a ruse, with the first implying policemen in search of fugitive thieves and the second invoking costumed merrymakers during Carnival.
The first Chácara do Céu Museum art theft jammed far more artworks into one getaway vehicle than the second's four oil paintings and one illustrated book.

The second Chácara do Céu Museum art theft, occurring Feb. 24, 2006, included removal of Toros, a 1960 book about bulls, but not of Toros y Toreros, a 1961 book about bulls, bullfighters and bullfighting, both illustrated by Pablo Picasso; a drawing from Toros y Toreros: vintagedeluxeshop, via Instagram March 8, 2017

Newspaper articles and online sources keep different itemizations and totals concerning the number and the type of artworks purloined from, and returned to, the Chácara Museum.
Contemporary and subsequent accounts list as stolen one tapestry, two Chinese Tang Dynasty terracotta statues, eight, nine or 11 paintings and 27 or 29 silver pieces. They mention artworks by São Paulo-born Brazilian artist Cândido Portinari (Dec. 29, 1903-Feb. 6, 1962) and Italian-born Brazilian painter Eliseo Visconti (July 3, 1866-Oct. 15, 1944). They note among the casualties Luxembourg Garden by Henri Matisse (Dec. 31, 1869-Nov. 3, 1954) and Two Balconies by Salvador Dalí (May 11, 1904-Jan. 23, 1989).
The first Chácara do Céu Museum art theft, like the second, obtained the only artwork by the Marqués de Dalí de Púbol in South American museums.

Prior to the 2006 art theft of Salvador Dalí's "Two Balconies" (Portuguese: Os Dois Balcões), Chácara do Céu Museum qualified as the only South American museum with artwork by the Marqués de Dalí de Púbol: Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via FBI

Contemporary and subsequent sources present time frames of 14 to 20 days after the 1989 theft as the timespan for retrieving masterpieces and rounding up suspects. They uniformly quote six as the total armed robbers in the first and the second Chácara Museum art thefts and five for the total suspects arrested. They reveal an anonymous tip as the information source for rounding up artworks and suspects in an apartment in the Praia de Botafogo suburb of Rio. Cristina Tardáguila, author of A Arte do Descaso (The Art of Neglect), suggests solving the second by studying the first Chácara do Céu Museum art theft.
The 28th Chácara Museum robbery anniversary transmits hope for America's greatest unsolved art crimes, the second Isabella Stewart Gardner and Chácara do Céu Museum art thefts.

Cristina Tardáguila at the launch of her Chácara do Céu Museum art thefts-themed book, A Arte do Descaso (The Art of Neglect), with Brazilian documentary film producer João Moreira Salles; Livraria da Travessa -- Shopping Leblon, southern Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil; Feb. 18, 2016; Gustavo Schlittler Rodrigues, photographer: sr2fotografia via Instagram Feb. 18, 2016

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
Rio de Janeiro's Chácara do Céu Museum (left) and Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (right) are sites of major unsolved art thefts in the Americas:
Feb. 11, 2006, photograph of Museu da Chácara do Céu: Ministério da Cultura do Brasil, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Museu_da_Ch%C3%A1cara_do_C%C3%A9u_01.jpg?uselang=pt
1903 photograph of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, viewed from the Fens, by T.E. Marr and Son Photography: gardnermuseum via Instagram Feb. 24, 2016, @ https://www.instagram.com/p/BCLgHKQvHAM/
First art thefts at Chácara do Céu Museum in 1989 and at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1970 foreshadow the second art thefts in 2006 and 1990, respectively, with same removals of Salvador Dalí's "Two Balconies" and Henri Matisse's "Luxembourg Gardens" (left) from Chácara do Céu and a self portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn (right) from Isabella Stewart Gardner
Henri Matisse's Luxembourg Garden (Portuguese: Jardim de Luxemburgo): Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via FBI @ https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/art-theft/fbi-top-ten-art-crimes/theft-museu-chacara-do-ceu-rio-de-janeiro
"Self Portrait Wearing a Soft Cap: Full Face, Head Only": Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_-_Self_portrait_etching_-_ISGM.jpg
The second Chácara do Céu Museum art theft, occurring Feb. 24, 2006, included removal of Toros, a 1960 book about bulls, but not of Toros y Toreros, a 1961 book about bulls, bullfighters and bullfighting, both illustrated by Pablo Picasso; a drawing from Toros y Toreros: vintagedeluxeshop via Instagram March 8, 2017, @ https://www.instagram.com/p/BRZO2RIjzyt/
Prior to the 2006 art theft of Salvador Dalí's "Two Balconies" (Portuguese: Os Dois Balcões), Chácara do Céu Museum qualified as the only South American museum with artwork by the Marqués de Dalí de Púbol: Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via FBI @ https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/art-theft/fbi-top-ten-art-crimes/theft-museu-chacara-do-ceu-rio-de-janeiro
Cristina Tardáguila at the launch of her Chácara do Céu Museum art thefts-themed book, A Arte do Descaso (The Art of Neglect), with Brazilian documentary film producer João Moreira Salles; Livraria da Travessa -- Shopping Leblon, southern Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil; Feb. 18, 2016; Gustavo Schlittler Rodrigues, photographer: sr2fotografia via Instagram Feb. 18, 2016, @ https://www.instagram.com/p/BB7YK6uprEb

For further information:
Marriner, Derdriu. 31 March 2017. "Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Theft: Dead-Ends to the Gardner 13." Earth and Space News. Friday.
Available @ https://earth-and-space-news.blogspot.com/2017/03/isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-art_31.html
Siquara, Carlos Andrei. 5 February 2016. "No Rastro de Obras Perdidas." O Tempo > Magazine > Diversão > Livro.
Available @ https://www.amazon.com.br/Arte-do-Descaso-Cristina-Tard%C3%A1guila/dp/8580578965/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1452189811&sr=8-1&keywords=a+arte+do+descaso
Skidmore, Thomas E. 1999. Brazil: Five Centuries of Change in Latin America. Latin American Histories series. New York NY: Oxford University Press.
Tardáguila, Cristina. 2016. A Arte do Descaso. Rio de Janeiro Brazil: Editora Intrínseca.


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