BOSTON — Boston Public Library officials said June 4 that two rare and valuable artworks that vanished last month have been found, and they never left the library.
Library President Amy Ryan announced in a statement that the 1634 Rembrandt etching and 1504 Durer engraving were found in the library’s print stacks by a library conservation officer, who had been searching for eight weeks.
“We’re thrilled to have found these treasures right here at home,” Ryan said. “They were found safe and sound, simply misfiled.”
The disappearance of the art pieces led to Ryan’s announcement June 3 that she would be resigning July 3, saying it would end a “distraction.” The announcement came after she said the library would make management and security changes.
Ryan told The Boston Globe that even though the artwork was found, she still planned to resign. She added that her name should now be cleared.
“Someone just said this to me and it’s true: ‘Nothing is missing under my watch,’” Ryan said. “All the items that we have been told are missing — but that have not been verified — went missing years before I started at BPL.”
Boston police, the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office had been investigating the whereabouts of the artwork. The Durer engraving is worth an estimated $600,000 and the Rembrandt etching has an estimated value of $20,000 to $30,000.
And last week, the library announced that gold coins originally placed in the cornerstone of the main building may have gone missing decades ago. The coins were apparently placed in an 1888 time capsule that was opened in the 1990s. No estimate of the coins’ value was disclosed.
An audit of the library released last week said it was ineffectively protecting special collections, haphazardly storing valuables and not maintaining a complete inventory of prized possessions.