Clock Is Ticking on $10 Million Reward in Gardner Art Heist

“This is our equivalent of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, but we’ve never had a satisfactory conclusion to it or any clue about what happened,” said Thomas Whalen, a social scientist at Boston University.

And, he said, the fact that no informant has stepped forward in all these years speaks to a quintessential Boston characteristic — the “closed culture” and tribal nature of its people, especially small-time hoodlums, he said, who would likely confess to a murder before informing on someone.

Mrs. Gardner, an art patron and philanthropist who died in 1924, stipulated in her will that the vast art collection in her home here, modeled on a 15th-century Venetian palace, remain on permanent display exactly as she left it. To comply, six empty gilded frames are on view just as they were the night their contents — five paintings and a Rembrandt etching — were cut out of them. The empty frames serve not only as reminders of the works that are gone; they look like open arms, waiting to welcome them back.


An empty frame that once held Manet’s “Chez Tortoni” hangs in the Blue Room of the Gardner Museum. Above the empty frame of the stolen work is Manet’s portrait of his mother, “Madame Auguste Manet.”

M. Scott Brauer for The New York Times


Manet’s painting “Chez Tortoni.”

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

The museum doubled the longstanding reward to $10 million in May to underscore its determination to recover the art and set a “limited time only” offer as an added incentive. Since then, dozens of tipsters have called Mr. Amore — most with unsubstantiated theories.

As if on cue during the interview, Mr. Amore’s phone rang. It was a man who calls so often with outlandish claims that Mr. Amore has affixed a…

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