Friday, June 5, 2015

Boston Public Library Finds Missing Paintings

RelatedPortrait of a Scapegoat

"Missing artworks were misfiled, library officials say; Boston Public Library prints discovered 80 feet from their proper place" by Shelley Murphy and Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  June 04, 2015

Two valuable prints that went missing from the Boston Public Library, triggering a criminal investigation and the resignation of the institution’s president, were discovered Thursday on a shelf — a mere 80 feet from where they should have been filed, according to authorities.

“It’s a cloud lifted, a burden off our shoulders,” a jubilant Amy Ryan, the library president, said in a telephone interview. “Everyone is happy.”

She said the discovery, a day after she announced her resignation, doesn’t change her plans to step down, yet she feels vindicated.

When pressed about whether someone could have taken the prints and returned them, Melina Schuler, a library spokeswoman, said library officials were confident that the prints had been in the library all along, misfiled a year ago in a simple case of “human error.”

The prints were discovered at the library’s Copley Square branch around 2 p.m., just as two Boston Police officers and a federal prosecutor investigating the missing artwork arrived for a tour of the massive room — the size of a city block — where the print collection is stored, according to a law enforcement official.

The Dürer and Rembrandt prints were found resting one on top of the other, along with a third unidentified print, on a metal shelf, more than 6 feet from the ground, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

Despite the discovery, a criminal investigation into how the prints were handled is proceeding.

“The anticorruption unit will continue trying to determine if anything else is missing,’’ said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. “We will be examining what they have there. The investigation is not over.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh received a phone call from Ryan on Thursday afternoon alerting him that the artwork had been found.

That news, he said, “was certainly a lot better than worrying about an inside job as far as stealing the art. I asked her if any of the other stuff that was missing was found, and she said no.”

Walsh said he would not speculate on whether the artwork had been removed and returned, or was in the same place throughout the investigation.

Me neither; not the kind of inside jobs I care about.

Walsh added, “I’m going to make sure we investigate the missing pieces that are left and come up with protocols so things like this don’t happen again.”

The FBI and the US Attorney’s office will continue to assist in the ongoing probe....

Of what?


Looks like someone owes somebody an apology:

"Under pressure over missing art, Boston Public Library chief resigns" by Shelley Murphy and Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  June 03, 2015

Boston Public Library president Amy E. Ryan, who has been under fire since two valuable pieces of art were reported missing in April, announced her resignation Wednesday amid mounting criticism from the Walsh administration.

In a statement, Ryan said she would resign July 3 after eight years to “allow the work of the Boston Public Library to continue without distraction.”

“I love Boston, and I love the Boston Public Library,” Ryan, 64, said in a telephone interview. “I teamed up with the staff and the public and we accomplished a lot of great things.”

The chairman of the library’s board of trustees, Jeffrey B. Rudman, had offered steadfast support for Ryan as controversy grew around the missing artwork. But Ryan found no support at City Hall, where Mayor Martin J. Walsh and his chief of staff, Daniel Koh, became increasingly pointed in their public comments.

During a special meeting of the library’s trustees Wednesday morning, Koh chastised the board for failing to serve as “an independent check” on Ryan and her staff. He questioned how artwork valued at $630,000 “was allowed to go missing for nearly a year without anyone noticing.”

“I, and more importantly the mayor, are gravely concerned about what has happened and are concerned that things are not being taken as seriously as they should be,” Koh told the trustees.

He added, “We also have significant concerns and fears that more may be missing.”

In fact, immediately after the meeting, Ryan told reporters that someone told her in an e-mail that the library’s music curator said several pages were missing from a music manuscript. She declined to give more details, saying her staff was reviewing the allegation and would notify police if it is confirmed.

Later Wednesday, a library spokeswoman provided a copy of the e-mail, dated May 30, which indicated that the music sheets went missing before Ryan’s tenure.

The e-mail indicated pages of several scores of music donated 20 years ago by the family of Boston-area composer William Thomas McKinley were stolen “a few years later.”

Last week, the library also disclosed it received another e-mail, on May 22, from someone who said gold coins that had once been stored in a time capsule in the cornerstone of the McKim building were also missing.

Ryan was adamant when meeting with reporters Wednesday morning that she did not plan to step down, despite harsh comments during the meeting from critics, including one who called for her dismissal. But by late afternoon, she issued a statement announcing her resignation.

“It had been on mind,” Ryan said later in the day, “but I wasn’t ready to resign by announcing it to the press.”

Ryan was paid $193,000 in 2014, according to payroll records. 

I'm not saying she's not worth it; however, arts are the playground of the elites. Also a good cover for Mossad spies.

Walsh said during a brief telephone interview Wednesday that he never asked for Ryan’s resignation and was waiting for the results of an ongoing criminal investigation into the two missing prints, and an internal inventory by the library to determine whether more pieces are missing.

Still, he said he was troubled that Ryan was unaware that her staff knew the artwork was missing for nearly a year before telling her.

“Ultimately it falls on the leader,” Walsh said. “You’re supposed to have faith and trust in the team you have around you.”

That statement could really come back to bite him in the ass at some future date.


Ryan was hired during the administration of former mayor Thomas M. Menino. She was lured away from a top library post in Minneapolis, where she had worked for decades.

In his 17 months in office, Walsh and the library president never developed a close relationship.

Before the art controversy, Walsh only met twice with Ryan to specifically discuss the library, according to the mayor’s schedule obtained through the open records law. But, Walsh said that he met with Ryan more frequently to discuss the library budget and other issues, noting that she attended department head meetings.

So is an apology forthcoming?

Rudman, the chairman of the board of trustees, spoke glowingly of Ryan’s accomplishments during Wednesday’s meeting, and after learning of her resignation said, “I’m so sad. She is both a wonderful librarian and a wonderful human being.”

Well, it's not like she is dead, ill, or crippled. I'm sure she can find another job in the field.

Boston police, the FBI, and the US attorney’s office are looking into the possibility that the prints were stolen by employees, yet they have not ruled out the possibility that they were simply misfiled among the library’s collection of more than 200,000 prints..... 

That's when I was done looking.


Also seeMFA receives trove of John Singer Sargent letters, memorabilia

I'm sure they won't be losing them.


Daunting search paid off for library

"Boston Public Library president Amy E. Ryan could receive nearly $10,000 for unused vacation time when she resigns on July 3, according to a library spokeswoman. Under federal law, employees are entitled to be paid for accrued vacation time. Ryan currently has 30 hours of unused vacation and will have accrued another two weeks as of July 1, according to the library spokeswoman, Melina Schuler. The potential vacation payout was first reported by WFXT-TV (Channel 25). Ryan announced this week that she would step down after she came under fire when prints worth more than $600,000 went missing. The prints had been misfiled and were found the day after Ryan tendered her resignation."

Any more questions?

UPDATE: A rush to judge at the Boston Public Library

"Boston Public Library’s art in state of neglect, report finds; Calls for massive overhaul" by Brian MacQuarrie and Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  June 22, 2015

Historical researcher Margo Burns was stunned three years ago when she discovered four handwritten records at the Boston Public Library from the case of a woman hanged in 1692 during the Salem witchcraft hysteria.

The elation felt by Burns and two colleagues turned to panic only days later, when one returned and was told the documents could not be found. After a month of anxious, follow-up questions, the records were rediscovered.

That episode preceded — and perhaps foreshadowed — the widely publicized disappearance of prints by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt, a case that launched a criminal investigation in April and led to the resignation of library president Amy Ryan. The prints — “simply misfiled,” said Ryan — were found June 4 just 80 feet from their proper place.

A report to be released this week will find that the library’s problems go deeper. Its 320,000 prints and drawings have been neglected for years and are in dire need of space, a massive reorganization, and a complete inventory, according to a draft copy of the consultant’s report obtained by the Globe....

Sorry I neglected to read the rest.


"More resources needed for Boston library, report says" by Meghan E. Irons Globe Staff  June 24, 2015

I'm sorry, but I'm tired of the answer always being we need more money and I'm sick of the paper constantly pitching the theme.

Striking a blunt tone, a consultant’s report on chronic neglect besetting the Boston Public Library’s world-class art collection calls on Mayor Martin J. Walsh to increase resources to address decades of inadequate record keeping, storage, and staffing.

The 34-page report, commissioned by the library, contends the collection of prints and drawings deserves better organization and leadership, more employees to look after it, and “the respect and acclaim” of the city. It said a greater investment of resources is essential to bring the print department in line with contemporary best practice and standards.

“The mayor says that the library must do better. Well and good, the staff are willing and eager to do better but cannot do more than they do now without additional resources,’’ the report said.

Also is tarnishing the legacy of Menino, isn't it?


The report, which took a year to complete, was submitted to the library officials by Simmons College professor Martha Mahard in late May, roughly seven weeks after the system’s leaders became aware that two valuable pieces of art were missing and a criminal investigation was launched. The study, details of which the Globe first revealed on Monday, was released publicly Tuesday.

It also emerged Tuesday that the professor, aided by Simmons interns, on June 8 began conducting an item-by-item inventory of the thousands of pieces in the library’s print collection. It is expected to be completed in nine months.

The vanished artwork — an Albrecht Dürer engraving valued at more than $600,000, and a Rembrandt etching worth $30,000 — highlighted deficiencies at the library, and prompted library president Amy E. Ryan to announce she was stepping down. Ryan had little backing from City Hall, with Walsh and his chief of staff, Daniel Koh, criticizing her during the biggest crisis of her nearly eight-year tenure. The artwork was eventually found 80 feet from where the pieces should have been filed.

The mayor, through his spokeswoman, contends that the city has already made significant investments for improvements at the library.

Governing now consists of lying through your teeth and putting perfume on a pile of shit for public relations purposes -- all while feeding at the trough of public $ervice.

City contributions to the library’s overall budget increased steadily since the recession, even as the library’s capital budget rose. Walsh also increased city funding.

Last year, in a move that now seems prescient, the library commissioned Mahard to assess the collection, particularly how items are organized and cataloged, and the secure area where they are kept....