Title: The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft
Author: Ulrich Boser
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (2008)
Genre: Non-fiction, art, crime
Book Source: Library
"Every work of art is singular, unique, and when a creation goes missing, there is nothing left behind but inadequate facsimiles - and fading memories."(p.41) The loss of a dozen masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is the topic of this true story. UlrichBoser opens the book with a description of how the theft took place - pieced together using all the available information. The remainder of the book discusses the clues, the suspects and the various detectives who have tried to solve the case. It gives the reader a detailed look at the issue of art theft including the motives and outcomes of these acts. It also describes the work involved in solving this type of crime and the tenacity needed to follow it through.
On a recent trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with my book club I was able to view the empty frames which are all that remain of the stolen masterpieces. The art that is stolen is generally believed to be ruined and lost forever. Even the millions of dollars offered in reward have not been able to bring about its recovery. UlrichBoser's book highlights the way in which the missing art lodges itself in the consciousness of all the people who have tried to solve the crime or otherwise been involved. The loss is so potent because of the historic and cultural significance of the pieces and the multitudes of people who have subsequently been denied the opportunity to view the stolen art. The Gardner Heist began as a fascinating book, but seemed to get boring and bogged down in endless speculations in the last half. While I did enjoy learning about the heist and the people who have tried to solve the crime, I think that the book would have been more enjoyable if it were shorter and not quite so detailed about all the Boston crime personalities that could have, might have, possibly were involved.
Note: This is my second book completed for the Heidenkind Art History Reading Challenge.
54 minutes ago