New search for Amherst art stolen decades ago

Image courtesy: Mead Art Museum at Amherst College
Image courtesy: Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The FBI and Amherst College are renewing efforts to find a painting that was stolen from the Mead Art Museum nearly 40 years ago.

Three Dutch masterworks were taken from the Amherst museum during a break-in on the night of February 8, 1975. Two of those paintings turned up during a 1989 drug raid in Illinois, but the third, “Interior with figures smoking and drinking” by Jan Baptist Lambrechts, has still yet to be found.

According to a news release sent to 22News by Amherst College, the museum is working with the Boston Division of the FBI and the FBI’s Art Crime Team to find the artwork, which is listed in the National Stolen Art File.

Mead Head of Security Heath Cummings has been looking into the case for years now.

“After collecting and reviewing old files, news articles, and witness recollection on a nearly forty-year-old case, it is safe to say we have learned all we can about the theft, enough to officially re-open the investigation,” Cummings said.

“Our goal is to discover the fate of the Lambrechts painting, and bring it back home to Amherst College. The prospect of putting it back on display with the other two paintings that were recovered in 1989 is a very exciting one.”

The returned paintings, Hendrick vanVliet’s “The Interior of the New Church, Delft” and Pieter Lastman’s “St. John the Baptist”, were being used as collateral in a drug deal at the time they were found in the 1989 raid.

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