The originals – reportedly worth as much as $1 billion collectively – include century-old works by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Vermeer. Among them is Vermeers’ 1664 painting “The Concert,” which is one of only 34 known works by the Dutch painter; a rare Rembrandt self-portrait from 1634; Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” which is the Dutch master’s only known seascape; French modernist Manet’s “Chez Tortoni” (1878); five sketches by Degas; and an ancient Chinese Gu from the Shang dynasty in the 1200s. The works were all purchased in the late 1800s and early 1900s by Gardner, a prominent philanthropist and art collector, and were stolen during an infamous heist in which two men posing as police officers broke in, tied up security guards and stole the art.
“I had studied all these paintings at the Gardner Museum,” said DeCunto. “I thought it would be a tribute, so I thought I would do something that would be contemporary. ”The paintings are somewhat faithful to the original but with a healthy dose of Decunto’s own artistic flourishes. “I’m an artist. I have my own signature. I thought it was important to me to pay homage to that,” he said.
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