The Art of Theft

The Art of Theft

Noah Charney '02 has fashioned a multimedia career from the work of those who steal paintings.

By Gerry Boyle '78 | Photos by Robert P. Hernandez


It was the very same side door where, in the dead of night on March 18, 1990, thieves posing as Boston police talked their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, bound the museum’s security guards, and stole 13 works of art valued at $300 million.

I got in by saying I had an interview with Noah Charney ’02.

Actually, that’s an oversimplification. The locked door is the staff entrance. But the museum’s security director, Anthony Amore, did know of Charney, an art-theft expert. In fact, Amore had been trying to get in touch with Charney, who is based in Europe.

“He e-mailed me a few days ago and asked if I could call him, because he wanted to ask me some questions and he was interested in my work,” Charney said, strolling through the Gardner galleries later that afternoon. “I’m going to be in touch with him as soon as this [book] tour is over.”

And if that seems a bit casual, forgive Charney. He’s been busy.

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