New Life for Stolen Art
The Mead is exhibiting cartoon-like versions of works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Manet and Degas.

At 1:24 a.m. on March 18, 1990, two thieves posing as Boston police officers stole 13 artworks estimated at $500 million from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.   has now brought these works together in the Mead Art Museum. 

Well, sort of.

In his Gardner Museum Revisited, Ezawa gives the disappeared Gardner artworks new life in the form of dynamic, colorful drawings set in glowing light boxes. Included are Ezawa’s cartoonlike versions of works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Manet and Degas, and of an antique Chinese vase.

These reimaginings are on display at the College’s art museum, along with an image of an empty frame and Ezawa’s six-minute animated film based on security tapes recorded on the night before what remains the largest unsolved art heist in U.S. history.

Ezawa, born and raised in Germany, lives and works in San Francisco. His Mead exhibition is for the museum’s Rotherwas Project, a biannual exhibition series that features works by contemporary artists from around the globe. 

These artists come to the Mead’s oak-paneled Rotherwas Room to create installations in situ. Commissioned for an English manor house court, this room was finished in 1611, dismantled in 1731 and shipped to a Fifth Avenue showroom in 1913. It made its way to Amherst thanks to Herbert Lee Pratt, class of 1895.

Ezawa’s exhibition runs through June 1.