The theft of 13 artworks from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 25 years ago this spring rocked the art world to its core. "It remains a tremendous frustration to all art lovers and certainly one of the saddest and most notorious episodes in the history of Dutch art," says Julie Hochstrasser, an associate professor at the UI School of Art and Art History who specializes in 17th century Dutch painting.
Among the missing masterpieces are defining works from Rembrandt and—most devastating to Hochstrasser—one of the few known works of Johannes Vermeer. Both artists represented the pinnacle of Dutch painting's golden age.
Says Hochstrasser, "I still fervently hope that these paintings will yet resurface unscathed, to return to their rightful place in the Gardner, where they once again belong to all the world."