Gardner Museum Doubles Reward for Recovery of Stolen Masterpieces

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“Chez Tortoni” by Édouard Manet was among more than a dozen works stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. Credit Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, via Associated Press

The board of trustees of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has doubled the reward to $10 million for the recovery of 13 masterpieces stolen nearly three decades ago in the largest art heist in American history, the museum said Tuesday.

The reward, for information leading to the return of works by artists including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet, expires at the end of the year, it said.

“It is our fervent hope that by increasing the reward, our resolve is clear that we want the safe return of the works to their rightful place and back in public view,” Steve Kidder, president of the board, said in a statement.

In 1990, two thieves posing as police officers entered the museum and stole the art.

The museum increased its reward from $1 million to $5 million in 1997, but hoped that increasing it again for a limited time — for art that is valued at about $500 million — would encourage people to come forward with information soon.

Anthony Amore, the museum’s security director, said in an interview that the museum had identified the people who had taken the works, but it was convinced the thieves no longer had them. He said he hoped the reward would yield information about the art’s location.

“We encourage anyone with information to contact the museum directly, and we guarantee complete confidentiality,” he said in the statement. The reward is backed by the museum and its board, the museum said.

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