Ulrich Boser is the author of The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft.
From his 2013 Q & A with Randy Dotinga for the Christian Science Monitor:
Q: As you write, some fans of the museum can still remember where they were when they heard about the heist. Why does this theft has such resonance on an emotional level?The Gardner Heist is one of R.A. Scotti's five best books about art thefts.
A: It has a lot to do with the intimacy of the museum, where you really feel Isabella Gardner's presence.
The museum never changes. [This was required in the will of Gardner, a rich and fabulously eccentric art lover.] People have often told me of the experience they've had with the museum: They went as a child, and then they brought their own kids there and their grandkids. It feels like a little bit of amber. Then you go back to something you remember as a child and see a painting as beautiful as the Vermeer is ripped out, the frame hanging there empty.
Q: Do people see the theft as a violation?
A: They do. A number of people seem to see it as a very personal violation, that it affected them.
If you were to imagine a theft at a more impersonal museum, like the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, I don't think people would speak about it in that way.
Q: Has the theft been romanticized?
A: People have this Hollywood view of art where the art thieves wear black turtlenecks and rappel through the windows. They think there's...[read on]