The Boston Public Library is working with local and federal law enforcement to find two missing pieces of artwork worth more than $600,000. It’s not clear if the works by Rembrandt and Albrecht Dürer were stolen or misplaced.
The keeper of special collections was placed on leave, according to a library spokeswoman. Police Commissioner William Evans said investigators are looking into whether the disappearance of the pieces was "an inside job."
The missing 1634 Rembrandt self-portrait is valued between $20,000 and $30,000. Dürer 1504 engraving, "Adam and Eve," is valued at approximately $600,000.
Amy Ryan, the Library's president, hopes the pieces were simply "misfiled." She released a statement on the missing pieces:
The curators and department staff are currently conducting a detailed search of the collection, and we are working with the Boston Police Department to determine if there is the possibility of criminal activity. As part of the search process, the BPL is undertaking an updated inventory of the more than 200,000 prints and drawings that make up the print collection, and will conduct an independent analysis of security protocols. While strict procedures for viewing items in the collection are in place, it is always a balance to fulfill our obligation to make collections open to the public to study and enjoy, while preserving them and keeping them secure.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants a review of library security. "We’re not talking about misplacing a set of keys, we're talking about misplacing a $600,000 piece of art," he told reporters.
This isn't the first Rembrandt stolen from a Boston institution. The FBI is still trying to locate 13 pieces, including three Rembrandts, that were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than 25 years ago.
This report includes information from the Associated Press.