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Local artist recreates the stolen art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

If you’re anything like us, you’re kinda obsessed with the 1990 stolen art heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Have you listened to the podcast Last Seen? To this day the case is still unsolved and the stolen art was never recovered. Well, it was just announced that Boston artist Giovanni Decunto recreated the stolen art from the heist! Interpretations of the masterpieces by Degas, Rembrandt, and Manet will be on display March 1-17th at the Giovanni DeCunto Gallery located at 116 South Street. You can sneak a peek at the here. See press release below:

BOSTON, February 7, 2019 – Artist Giovanni DeCunto, an acclaimed global expressionist who has commissioned pieces for President George H. W. Bush and David Ortiz, has created a new collection of interpretations of all 13 of the works stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the world’s largest unsolved art heist.

“I learned how to paint from those paintings,” Giovanni said. “Before I went to college, I used to go into the museums and copy all the paintings. I knew all of their techniques. Their techniques are the basis of my style. I wanted to give these incredible, inspiring works new life.”

The originals – reportedly worth as much as $1 billion collectively – include century-old works by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Vermeer. Among them is Vermeers’ 1664 painting “The Concert,” which is one of only 34 known works by the Dutch painter; a rare Rembrandt self-portrait from 1634; Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” which is the Dutch master’s only known seascape; French modernist Manet’s “Chez Tortoni” (1878); five sketches by Degas; and an ancient Chinese gu from the Shang dynasty in the 1200s.

The works were all purchased in the late 1800s and early 1900s by Gardner, a prominent philanthropist and art collector, and were stolen during an infamous heist in which two men posing as police officers broke in, tied up security guards and stole the art. There have been a variety of leads over the years, but none of the pieces have been recovered. The museum has offered a $10 million reward.

Giovanni’s “13” exhibit will be unveiled at a private event on February 26th, then will be available for public showing from March 1-17, during gallery hours at the Giovanni DeCunto Gallery located at 116 South Street, Boston 02111.

Giovanni grew up in Lawrence and is a graduate of Boston University’s School of Fine and Applied Art. In addition to being commissioned to create a piece for President George H.W. Bush, his work has been exhibited at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, The Reusch Collection in Zurich, The Monarch Club and the EUNO Royal Museum in Japan, where his pieces were on display with works by Jackson Pollack and Robert Maplethorpe. Prominent collectors continue to procure and display his work, including at Reebok World Headquarters, Children’s Hospital Boston, Ropes and Grey law firm, the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

Giovanni considers his paintings his “palette for chaos and order to collide,” and they have been included in some of the most prestigious art collections in the United States, Europe and Japan. Over the course of his life, this classically trained artist has developed his own incarnation of pop expressionism, exploring the faces and events of modern global culture.

Influenced by Baroque and contemporary painters, his work consists of abstract and representational forms made with acrylic paint––often poetic and gracefully formed and at times boldly colored––that hang in an uncanny, perfect balance. He has developed a unique technique that no other contemporary painter is using. His technique mostly excludes the use of tools, resulting in painting with tubes of paint. He manipulates the paint through movement and occasionally with the touch of his hands.

To learn more about Giovanni and the unveiling of the “13” collection, please visit www.theStolen13.com.

Image: Christ and the Storm of Galilee, Rembrant via Isabella Gardner Museum (one of the original stolen 13)

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Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.