The price of contemporary art has skyrocketed over the last three decades. Adam Sender started collecting art around the same time as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, art heist in history took place. Sender may have read about the theft on March 18, 1990, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s galleries in Boston. But he was too busy working as a hedge fund manager and a new collector of contemporary art. Sender went on to amass an amazing contemporary art collection, and he put some of the works up for auction at Sotheby’s recently. The estimated value of the 400 pieces in the offering is more than $70 million.
The theft of 13 priceless works of art started one of the largest manhunts for art in history. Three individuals concocted an elaborate plan to steal Rembrandt’s 1633 works : A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and a 1634 Self Portrait etching on paper. They also took Govaert Flinck’s Landscape with an Obelisk and Vermeer’s The Concert. Plus the two men dressed as police officers took a priceless Chinese vase.
But the thieves didn’t stop there. They also stole five works by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet’s Chez Tortoni, and a finial from the top of Napoleonic silk flag. It’s been 25 years since the heist, but the Gardner Museum is still looking for the stolen pieces. The investigation is the responsibility of the Museum’s director of security. The director is working with the FBI and other law enforcement officials. The museum wants the artwork back in good condition. The Boston museum is offering a $5 million reward for information that will help recover the artwork. The police believes that two of the men responsible for the heist are deceased, but they think the man that acted as the front man is still alive. Officials have his photo, and they are actively trying to identify him. Piecing together valuable works of art is an art in itself. Sender did it the right way. The crooks in Boston did it too, but they did it in an extremely destructive way.