You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe


special section: the gardner grows

Confessions of a former Gardner Museum night guard

Alone with masterpieces, and nothing but a flashlight as a source of illumination.

IN 1986 AND ’87 I worked as a security guard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. For most of that time I was a night guard. The pay was low and the hours were difficult, but it was a job I truly enjoyed.

I had moved to Boston after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, and at first I worked as a gallery attendant. We weren’t allowed to draw while on duty, but I always carried a small sketchbook, and when I was alone I’d draw studies of the artworks that impressed me. Among those were Vermeer’s “The Concert’’ and Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee’’ - two of the masterpieces stolen in 1990, in what remains the biggest unsolved art heist in history, with a total value estimated at up to $500 million.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week