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Bulger/Gardner? Speculation on Whether Arrest of Fugitive Mobster Will Solve Boston Art Heist

Most Wanted: Vermeer, “The Concert,” 1658-1660

It seems like a longshot. But Jason Felch‘s and Ralph Frammolino‘s “Chasing Aphrodite” Twitter page now tantalizes us with the following:

Coming tomorrow: a story in the LA Times about how the arrest of #whiteybulger could help crack the biggest art heist in history.

That could only be the 1990 theft of 13 artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including three Rembrandts and the above Vermeer.

James “Whitey” Bulger
, the alleged former Boston crime boss, wanted for 16 years, was arrested Wednesday night in Santa Monica.

But I wouldn’t book your flight to see the missing Vermeer at the Gardner just yet. Last year, Stephen Kurkjian of the Boston Globe reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly, the federal prosecutor leading the Gardner investigation, said that “he is convinced that James ‘Whitey” Bulger had nothing to do with the [Gardner] crime.”

And here’s what the Gardner Museum itself tweeted this afternoon:

Lots of twitter re: #whiteybulger and the Gardner! We have no info to tie him to the theft. Until a recovery is made, our work continues.

We can all dream, can’t we? Wouldn’t it be great to get these back, in pristine condition, just in time for the Jan. 19 opening of the Gardner’s Renzo Piano-designed expansion? (There may not be “The Concert,” but there will be an “expanded concert series”!)

You’ll have to keep your own eyes on the Boston Globe and LA Times websites tomorrow. I’m going to steal a lo-o-o-ng weekend (sans laptop), accompanied by the entire CultureFamily (including the recently inducted CultureDaughter-in-Law and the future CultureSon-in-Law).

My bum knee and I will (I hope) be playing tennis and golf (very gently), with help from my new, very supportive (but not aesthetically pleasing) Cho-Pat knee brace. (Now where’s that Advil when I really need some?)


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