Famed art detective Harold Smith
By buying up her favorite artworks and displaying them for posterity in her museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner removed them from the sphere of commerce and preserved them for the enjoyment of all. That is, until 1990, when thieves broke in and made off with 11 canvases, including Jan Vermeer’s The Concert. Rebecca Dreyfus’s documentary calls on famed fine-arts detective Harold Smith to solve the theft. None of his leads pans out, so Dreyfus follows a few of her own, tapping some experts to explain the genius of Vermeer and chatting with others about Gardner, whose turn-of-the-century letters to Bernard Berenson and his replies are read by Blythe Danner and Campbell Scott. The result is a pile of loose, if edifying, ends.
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