The Akumalian

Akumal's Newsletter for its Extended Global Community
Quintana Roo, Mexico

[an error occurred while processing this directive]  Cartoon Caption Contest, March 18, 2010

 Every week has a Cartoon Caption Contest, and every week The Staff of The Akumalian, in the name of Steve Clouther, enters.  SteveC has been a runner-up on numerous occasions, but this week he broke through into the winner's circle.

Here's what said about the winning entry.

The winner:  Sometimes pithy works. Of 500 entrants to our Theft-at-the-Gardner caption-contest last week, we went with Steve Clouther of Uxbridge. His three-word entry got the point across in Peter Wallace's illustration about the 20th anniversary of the Gardner theft.

Happy 20th Anniversary!

Steve Clouther, Uxbridge

Some background history.

March 18, 2010 marks the 20th year that frames hang empty at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum as a reminder of the theft of thirteen works of art taken from its galleries. The frames hang empty today as an homage to the missing artworks and as a placeholder for their return. On this, the 20th year since the theft, the Gardner Museum, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Attorney’s Office, remains as committed as ever to the return of these stolen artworks – to the museum and to an awaiting public where they belong.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of March 18, 1990, thieves disguised as police officers talked their way into the museum.  They handcuffed the two on-duty security guards out of sight and then stole thirteen works of art valued at over $500 million, including The Concert, one of Johannes Vermeer's thirty-five known paintings, and three works by Rembrandt van Rijn, including his only seascape, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and a small self-portrait print.  Also stolen were a series of drawings by Edgar Degas and additional works by Édouard Manet and Govaert Flinck, as well as two objects: a Chinese Ku, or beaker, and a finial from a Napoleonic flag.  It is considered the biggest art theft—and property theft—in history; the crime remains unsolved.  The museum still displays the paintings' empty frames in their original locations according to the strict provisions of Gardner's will, which instructed that the collection be maintained unchanged.

 In late 2005, as part of a concerted effort to enhance security, the museum hired a former Homeland Security official who helped to rebuild security at Logan Airport after the events of September 11, 2001.  MAC Systems and General Electric also conducted a large-scale and comprehensive upgrade to the facility's access control system.  More upgrades are in the works to ensure that the events of March 18, 1990 are never repeated.

 A reward of $5 million is offered for information leading to the return of the works of art in good condition.



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