Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ulrich Boser

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?

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]
The Gardner Heist is one of R.A. Scotti's five best books about art thefts.

--Marshal Zeringue