The Boston Public Library
FOR THOSE OF YOU NOT AWARE OF THIS MAJOR ART HEIST AGAIN, THIS TIME THE THIEF KNEW THAT DUERER WAS SO INCREDIBLY VALUABLE ALONG WITH REMBRANDT, BASICALLY A KINSMAN, PLEASE READ ABOUT THE NEXT HUGEST ART HEIST AFTER THE ISABEL STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM IN BOSTON.
MANY THINGS GO ON IN BOSTON, NO?
Two treasured pieces of art — an etching by Rembrandt and an engraving by Albrecht Dürer — have gone missing from the Boston Public Library’s vaunted print collection, and investigators are probing whether the artwork was stolen through an inside job, the Herald has learned.
The library reported both pieces missing to police on April 29, after a BPL supervisor discovered they had gone missing on or around April 8, according to a police report.
BPL HAS FABULOUS DURER COLLECTION, SPENT MUCH TIME THERE RESEARCHING
Police estimate the piece by Dürer, a 15th century German artist, which depicts Adam and Eve, is worth $600,000. The Rembrandt, a self-portrait, is worth an estimated $20,000 to $30,000.
A source with close knowledge of the incident, who asked not to be identified due to the ongoing police investigation, told the Herald the prints could have been missing for a year before the police report was filed.
BPL President Amy Ryan said in a statement, “It is our hope that these two significant pieces have simply been misfiled.”
“The curators and department staff are currently conducting a detailed search of the collection, and we are working with the Boston Police Department to determine if there is the possibility of criminal activity,” Ryan said.
The Dürer work, titled “Adam and Eve,” is a 1504 engraving that is about 8 inches by 11 inches in size. The Rembrandt, titled “Self Portrait with Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre,” is a 1634 etching that is about five inches by six inches in size.
Ryan said the library is undertaking an updated inventory of the more than 200,000 prints and drawings that make up its print collection, and will conduct an independent analysis of security protocols.
“While strict procedures for viewing items in the collection are in place, it is always a balance to fulfill our obligation to make collections open to the public to study and enjoy, while preserving them and keeping them secure,” Ryan said in her statement.
The pieces were among 30 Rembrandt prints and 105 Durer prints in the BPL’s collection, and are part of a “small but interesting collection of Old Master prints and drawings,” according to the library system’s website. The site says BPL owns “one of the larger public collections of prints in the United States.”
The source said Ryan reported the missing pieces to city brass around the time the police report was filed, and told officials she’d only recently been notified they’d gone missing.
The city is looking into how the venerable library system — which lays claim to being the country’s “first large free municipal library” and has a $41.6 million operating budget — keeps inventory of its assets, as well as an exact chronology of who handled the items