$600,000 worth of art goes missing from Boston Public Library

Boston's mayor wants to know how $600,000 worth of art has disappeared from the public library

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is getting involved in the investigation into the loss of more than $600,000 worth of artwork from the city's library system.

"You can’t lose $600,000-plus of artwork in the city of Boston and have a good rationale for it," Walsh told the Boston Globe.

Two pieces of art were discovered missing from the Boston Public Library's flagship Copley Square branch in April.

One was an engraving by Albrecht Dürer. Officially titled "Adam and Eve," it is also known as "The Fall of Man" and is one of Dürer's best-known works. Engravings of the work made in the early 1500s that remain in excellent condition can sell for more than $600,000 at auction, as the missing one did at Christie's in 2011.

The second work that disappeared is an etching by Rembrandt titled "Self-Portrait With Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre," worth $20,000-$30,000.

Both were kept in a locked room with an alarm. Patrons could access them by appointment in the branch's reading room for rare books.

Radio station WBUR reported that though the pieces were discovered missing in early April, a police report was not filed until April 29.

"It is our hope that these two significant pieces have simply been misfiled," library president Amy Ryan said in a statement. "The curators and department staff are currently conducting a detailed search of the collection, and we are working with the Boston Police Department to determine if there is the possibility of criminal activity."

However, Walsh told the Globe that "if there is an audit, it will be led by the mayor’s office, not by the library."

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